Heathrow third runway: Air quality and climate rules must be met

Planning consent for the third runway at Heathrow Airport will only be granted if it can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations. The airport will […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Planning consent for the third runway at Heathrow Airport will only be granted if it can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations.

The airport will have to ban night flights and make legally binding pledges to stick to environment targets under new proposals unveiled by the government.

The draft Airports National Policy Statement, which plans to stop flights for a period of six and a half hours every night, is subject to public consultation until 25th May.

The expansion plans have sparked numerous protests, with 15 demonstrators arrested in November last year.

The airport will also be required to put in place a range of measures to mitigate air quality impacts, both during the construction and operation of the new runway.

The document states: “The government believes that, with a range of policy measures and environmental mitigations, expansions at Heathrow Airport can be delivered within legal air quality requirements.

“Heathrow Airport will need to undertake an assessment of its project, to be included as part of its environmental statement, demonstrating to the Secretary of State that the construction and operation of the new capacity will not affect the UK’s ability to comply with legal air quality requirements. Failure to demonstrate this will result in refusal of development consent.”

The airport must also commit to binding noise performance targets to encourage the use of quieter aircrafts and take “ambitious” measures to limit carbon emissions from the scheme.

The government suggests using low carbon, locally sourced materials during the construction of the new runway.

The project is expected to bring benefits worth £61 million over 60 years, an additional 260,000 flights a year and “tens of thousands” of additional local jobs by 2030.