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Heathrow: Government must act to build public confidence on air quality

Heathrow: Government must act to build public confidence on air quality

In a letter to the Department for Transport after the publication of the draft National Policy Statement yesterday, Heathrow re-iterated its calls on the Government to ensure independent regulation of the airport’s expansion air quality plans to guarantee Heathrow meets its commitments to the public.

The full letter is below:

Dear Department for Transport Officials,

Heathrow is committed to building and maintaining good relations between the airport and local residents.

As you will be aware, in relation to air quality, we have called for the Environment Agency to be given a role as an independent aviation air quality authority and to provide transparent scrutiny of our plans. Given the importance placed by local people on independent oversight, we were surprised that this proposal was not mentioned as part of yesterday’s announcements on Heathrow expansion. We have called for the Government to hold us to our promises and we hope that the Government will support proposals to ensure independent oversight secured through our Development Consent Order.

Our commitments, including to increase the percentage of passengers travelling to the airport by public transport, will target the real source of emissions – road vehicles – and ensure that we continue to meet air quality targets, even with expansion. What’s more, we have said we will not release new capacity at an expanded Heathrow unless we can do so without delaying UK compliance with air quality limits.

Heathrow’s plans to reduce emissions are ambitious – they reflect how seriously we take air quality issues – but they are also realistic and achievable. We want to ensure our local communities have confidence in our plans and hope you will support independent oversight of our air quality compliance.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Gorman
Sustainability & Environment Director
Heathrow Airport

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