Heathrow expansion and the environment

By | Category: Travel news
panoramic view of Heathrow

the site for the proposed new runway at Heathrow is at the top of the picture

As the end nears for a decision on whether expansion will be at Heathrow or Gatwick – or even both – some research has boosted the possiblity that Heathrow might get the nod.

This morning, the BBC is running a report saying that they had seen new and independent research that suggested Heathrow airport could build a new runway without breaking European pollution laws.

As readers will be aware, one of the claimed reasons for the delay is that an environmental impact study has been under way.

Th is new research study measured poisonous nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels using 40 sensors in and around the airport. It then used modelling to predict what would happen in the future. Prof Rod Jones from Cambridge University is quoted as saying, “If there is the development of a third runway, we expect there to be a marginal increase in NO2 coming from the airport itself, but that would be against the background of reduced NO2 from other traffic, because of Euro 6 engines and electrification of the traffic fleet.”

So if road traffic is where the bulk of the poisonous nitrogen dioxide gases come from as new, cleaner car, lorry and bus engines become more common, pollution levels should decline, wiping out any increase from a bigger Heathrow.

This research used more accurate, real-world measurements than the government used and is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and alongside Cambridge, experts from the universities of Manchester and Hertfordshire, Imperial College London, CERC Limited and the National Physics lab were involved. Heathrow helped them put the sensors up and British Airways provided some flight data, but neither handed over any money or were involved in the actual work.

On that basis, this information looks as independent as it could possible be.



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