Gatwick salvo on Heathrow pollution levels
07 / 10 / 2016
Gatwick has produced its latest salvo as the battle over airport expansion in south-east England enters its final phase. The airport – the second busiest in the country – argues that rival Heathrow is breaching legal pollution limits, in some cases by up to 162%.
It says it has new evidence that shows that 19 out of 26 monitoring sites around Heathrow are up to 162% above legal NO2 limits. It claims that the data – collected over three months along key roads and residential areas – is more comprehensive than monitoring stations run by local authorities, which provide only a ‘snapshot’ of air quality in the Heathrow area across a limited number of areas.
Gatwick argues also that Heathrow’s pollution will get even worse when construction machines move in to start building the third runway there from 2021, and the levels reached would in fact be illegal.
Gatwick, which wants to be allowed to build a second runway instead of Heathrow’s third, says it has never breached legal air quality limits and its location means it would comfortably remain within legal limits if it expanded.
Heathrow though had also been busy unearthing fresh evidence, saying that Heathrow expansion would unlock nearly £60bn of growth over the next 15 years, as against only £4bn for Gatwick.
Building the new runway could also give the UK economy a much-needed boost at a time when the country is digesting the effects of its exit from the European Union.
It added that, as well as adding extra capacity on existing routes, the end of EU regulation offers an opportunity to ring-fence some of the new slots for “Brexit Boost Routes” including new long-haul routes to growth markets such as Osaka, Kochi, Wuhan and Quito.