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The expansion battle continues as Heathrow pledges to reduce night flights

11 May 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, International Airport Review

Heathrow Airport has announced it will meet the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s recommendation and pledges to reduce night flights if selected for expansion.

Heathrow concept

Concept design for an expanded Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye has written to the Prime Minister setting out the airport’s expansion plans ahead of a government decision to expand either Heathrow or Gatwick in a plight to maintain the UK’s global aviation hub status. A decision on airport expansion is expected this summer.

In his letter to the Prime Minister John Holland-Kaye said: “Today, I am proud to submit a comprehensive plan that meets and exceeds your demands.   This is a big commitment from us, but it is the right choice for the country, local communities and jobs across Britain.  

“Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed”

“We have acted now to let you and your government make the right choice, in the long term interest of our country.   It will enable you to choose Heathrow and secure a stronger economy and Britain’s place in the world. 

“Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed.”

According to the airport, the proposal ‘sets out a world leading, ambitious and affordable plan which balances the huge national and local economic gain from expansion with the environmental impacts.’

Today’s announcement follows the Airports Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow following a three-year study, the results of which Gatwick greatly disputed. In its recommendation, the Commission set out a number of conditions including strict environmental limitations.

“This is a desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed”

Commenting on today’s announcement Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “This is a desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed. Heathrow’s air quality plans, for example, fail the most basic credibility test. You can’t promise no more cars with a third runway and at the same time to propose to expand the M25 and plan to spend millions on parking.

“Heathrow has constantly failed the environmental tests and the public and politicians won’t be fooled by yet more warm words which have been heard for decades.”

Heathrow to ban night flights between 2300 and 0530 if given expansion approval

In its response to the Airports Commission’s recommendation, Heathrow plans to introduce a ban on scheduled flights for six and a half hours (from the current five hours) between 2300 and 0530 if given planning consent for expansion and once the necessary airspace has been modernised.

Heathrow proposes new independent aviation air quality authority

In addition it has put forward a proposal for the Environment Agency to be given the role of an independent aviation air quality authority, to scrutinise the measures Heathrow will introduce to enable it to expand only in accordance with air quality rules.

If given the go ahead, the airport will establish an Education and Skills Taskforce that will identify how best to develop the airport’s future skilled workforce and create a legacy for UK infrastructure projects.

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