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Heathrow (Air Quality)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 18th March 2010.

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Photo of Paul Clark Paul Clark Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 10:30 am, 18th March 2010

No, I do not accept that. When in January 2009 we announced our decision to proceed with the third runway at Heathrow, we made it clear that we would have in place stringent requirements on air and noise pollution. We have worked with the Committee on Climate Change, which has indicated that, even at the most pessimistic level, we would be in a position to meet growth in passenger numbers of some 60 per cent., or a 54 per cent. increase in flights. However, we have made it clear that we will have in place a legally binding agreement that there will be no further expansion beyond 2020 without ensuring that we are on target to meet the stringent requirements that we set out.

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Tim Henderson
Posted on 20 Mar 2010 9:24 am (Report this annotation)

The question asked about air quality and probably referred to justifiable concern over nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter pollutants. Paul Clark answered about carbon dioxide emissions and climate change effects.

There are still many unanswered questions as to how Heathrow expansion can be achieved without breaching EU limits and as to the detailed understanding of the air quality modelling carried out in the original consultation paper.

From the Environment Agency response to the Adding Capacity at Heathrow consultation :

Annex 1 Reduction in emissions 2015-2030
(47) The report demonstrates clear reductions in NO2 concentrations from road transport
sources in the Heathrow area by 2030. This is already seen in the results of the National
Strategy (2007, Volume 2 page 54) showing changes in London using the same ADMS model
as this report and differences between 2001 and 2020. The AQEG report (2004) on NO2
illustrates the projected reductions in NOx from urban road transport, on page 74. The AQEG
report, page 323, gives specific numbers on urban road transport, which is seen to reduce
from 233kt in 2002 (Strategy Volume 2 page 120) to 113kt in 2025 reflecting little change from
2015 and no assumptions beyond Euro 4. This is a reduction of 50%.
(48) The National Air Quality Strategy (page 172) suggests that Euro 6 and VI would reduce
emissions by 100kt from the baseline. Assuming that road transport contributes 700kt in 2002
and 322kt in 2025 (AQEG, 2004 page 323) and the introduction of Euro 6 and VI would
reduce emissions by a further 100kt, the road transport reduction ratio is about one third
[(322-100)/700 = 32%].
(49) These reductions to 50% and 32% should be compared with the reductions quoted in the
(a) between 2002 and 2030 the reduction of emissions from Heathrow roads is to 19% [665
t/y/3571 t/y].
(b) between 2002 and 2030 the reduction of emissions from Greater London roads is to 18%
[9728 t/y/55072 t/y].
These reductions are the main factor driving the conclusions from the report and they require
further justification.
The report should also explore the effect on air quality of assuming
alternative (lesser) reductions, such as those cited above.