Heathrow 3rd runway ‘could delay’ the UK’s air quality compliance
Heathrow’s 3rd runway could harm efforts to stay under EU air pollution limits, a report published by the government has warned. An assessment by engineering consultancy WSP of the government’s 2017 Air Quality Plan, which was published in July following several legal battles with lawyers ClientEarth, said the proposed runway affect UK compliance with the EU’s Ambient Air Quality Directive. If the runway opened between 2026 and 2030 it is unlikely that concentrations of NO2 in central London would have fallen sufficiently to remove the risk of Heathrow negatively impacting EU limit value compliance. With government forecasts on air passenger numbers, and a lot of new evidence on air pollution, the DfT had to publish a fresh consultation on the revised Airports National Policy Statement on the 3rd runway scheme. The government said it was on track to publish final proposals for expansion at Heathrow in the first half of 2018, before they are voted on in Parliament. Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Leader, said the fact the NPS consultation has had to be reopened shows the Government’s case remains deeply flawed. “It is difficult to see how a third runway can be delivered without breaching legal air pollution limits.
This is the government document on air quality, as part of the 2nd NPS consultation
2017 plan update to air quality re-analysis: impact of 2017 air quality plan and associated pollution climate mapping sensitivity testing
This report assesses the implications of the government’s new air quality plan
Heathrow expansion ‘could delay’ air quality compliance
25 OCTOBER, 2017
BY GREG PITCHER (New Civil Engineer)
Heathrow’s third runway could harm efforts to stay under European Union air pollution limits, a report published by the government has warned.
An assessment by engineering consultancy WSP of the government’s 2017 Air Quality Plan, which was published in July following several legal battles with an environmental law group, said the proposed north-west runway at the west London airport could impact on compliance with the EU’s Ambient Air Quality Directive.
“With proposed opening of the scheme between 2026 and 2030 it is unlikely that concentrations in central London will have fallen sufficiently to remove the risk of the airport expansion impacting on EU limit value compliance,” said the study.
The document was published amid a raft of information as ministers launched a fresh consultation on revised airports policy ahead of a vote on the controversial project next year.
It comes almost exactly a year after transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that a third runway at Heathrow was the government’s preferred way of boosting capacity in the South East.
An initial consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement concluded in May this year but the government has revised the policy in light of responses and fresh evidence, particularly about how the third runway could impact air quality. This week it launched a new consultation on the revised statement.
Amid the flurry of publications, a framework for balanced decisions on design and use of airspace signalled a U-turn on previous proposals to transfer noise control responsibility to certain airports.
And a forecasts document showed predictions that Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and City airports would be at full capacity by 2030, with Stansted reaching full capacity by 2040 along with Bristol and Southampton.
The government said it was on track to publish final proposals for expansion at Heathrow in the first half of 2018 before a vote in Parliament.
Grayling said: “The case for expanding Heathrow is as strong as ever and we want to hear your views on it. This is an important consultation and I encourage everybody to get involved across the UK.”
Heathrow described the latest consultation as a “key milestone”.
“The forecasts show expanding Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, is even more important than previously realised,” said a spokesperson for the airport.
“A third runway will ensure Britain’s place in the world as an outward looking trading nation. That’s why the government has committed to a final vote on expansion in the first half of 2018.
“Today’s consultation will be welcomed by business groups, trade unions and the majority of MPs who all recognise that expanding Heathrow is the only option to connect all of Britain to global growth.”
DfT publishes another 8 week consultation on the Heathrow NPS, showing further weaknesses
As stated in September, the Government has now published a second part of its consultation on the “Airports NPS”, on building a 3rd Heathrow runway. The 8 week consultation ends on 19th December. This consultation contains updated air passenger forecasts which were not produced for the earlier NPS consultation (which ended in May). It also looks at air pollution issues, which were not covered properly before, and also noise. This consultation comes exactly one year since the Government announced it favoured a 3rd Heathrow runway. The DfT is very aware of the problem Heathrow has with air pollution saying the runway means “there remains, however, a risk that the options could delay or worsen compliance with limit values, albeit decreasing over time.” Since the report by the Airports Commission, in July 2015, the arguments it put forward for the 3rd Heathrow runway have been seriously undermined – on economics, air pollution, carbon emission, noise, cost to the taxpayer etc. Yet Government tries to push on with it. Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, commented: “It is as if our politicians have been collectively hypnotised, but sooner or later reality will click and the project will be shelved once again.”
Heathrow expansion: consultation reopened to examine new evidence
By Adam Shaw (Harrow Times)
Heathrow opposition welcome second consultation on expansion scheme
Politicians have voiced their opposition to the proposed expansion at Heathrow Airport, as a new public consultation opened.
The Government believes that building a third runway at the UK’s busiest airport is preferable to expanding Gatwick.
However, a second consultation was announced by transport minister Chris Grayling to examine new evidence and those opposed to the move have urged the public to voice their opinions.
The decision is considered particularly relevant to Harrow, a region which is likely to be affected by any growth at Heathrow.
Harrow Liberal Democrats said new flight paths would mean an increase in noise for people living in the borough.
They also cited the short-sightedness in not including it in the original consultation “despite it being closer than other areas that were consulted”.
Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Leader, said: “I urge all those concerned about the environmental and social impact of Heathrow expansion to make their voice heard through this consultation.
“The fact this consultation has had to be reopened shows the Government’s case remains deeply flawed.
“It is difficult to see how a third runway can be delivered without breaching legal air pollution limits.
“We will continue to work with other parties in Parliament to stop Heathrow expansion in its tracks.”
His opinion was echoed by Harrow East MP Bob Blackman who once again expressed his support for the rival expansion plan at Gatwick.
He said: “I remain steadfast in my opposition to the addition of another runway at Heathrow, since concerns continue to be raised about the environmental impact and the resultant noise and pollution would be extremely detrimental to Harrow.
“The case for a second runway at Gatwick is, in my opinion, far stronger, with less impact on the environment and residents living in the vicinity.”
Harrow residents have until December 17 to put forward their opinion about the third runway scheme.