HACAN call for moratorium on airport expansion

For Immediate Use

Monday 10 May 2021


HACAN has joined forces with 15 other national and community campaign groups calling on the Government to place a moratorium on airport expansion owing to the UK’s climate change targets.

The Government recently accepted the advice of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) to formally include international aviation emissions in the UK’s climate law. (1) The CCC’s analysis concludes that as well as introducing new aviation fuels and improving aircraft efficiencies, demand for flying will need to be limited. The CCC also advises that there should be no net increase in UK airport capacity as sufficient capacity already exists.

The groups sent a letter (2) to both Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, and Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government Robert Jenrick, requesting the moratorium on expansion until the Government sets out its raft of policies that ensure the aviation sector cuts its emissions in line with the UK’s carbon budgets.

A consultation on net zero aviation is long overdue and the groups suggest a moratorium is essential to avoid prejudging the outcome of the consultation.

Paul Beckford, Coordinator, HACAN, said

“The Government commitment to include international aviation emissions in our net zero targets means that all airport expansion plans should be paused until there is a national strategy for both reducing aviation emissions and airport capacity.

Heathrow have long argued that their third runway could be delivered within climate targets by explicitly excluding international emissions from their calculations. The new Government target makes this argument redundant. Government should now amend the Airports National Policy Statement in light of these more robust targets.” 



  1. UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, April 20th 2021, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-enshrines-new-target-in-law-to-slash-emissions-by-78-by-2035
  2. Airport Expansion Moratorium Letter, 7th May 2021, https://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Airport-expansion-moratorium-letter-May-2021.pdf  


Paul Beckford, paul@hacan.org.uk, 07775593928

Campaigners say UK airport expansion plans must be suspended amid new climate goals

HACAN has joined 15 national and community campaign groups calling on the Government to place a moratorium on airport expansion.

Together we have written to the Transport Secretary and the Communities, Housing and Local Government Secretary. You can see the letter in full here.

The letter has been picked up by the Guardian and HACAN have issued a press release here.

ANIMA App project


This is a Quality of Life survey app developed to gain a deeper understanding of the influence of the sound and visual environment on our day-to-day quality of life.

There is increased recognition of the importance of in-situ assessments thathelp researchers develop greater understanding of how people perceive their visual and acoustic environment. Inspired by soundscape studies, and in the wider context of the ANIMA European H2020 project, this Experience Sampling Method has been developed to ask people over the course of their daily lives about the quality of their acoustic and visual environment. The dedicated mobile application prompts the user to collect data a few times throughout the day (excluding overnight). After a notification, a participant is asked to record the soundscape over a minute. They then complete a few questions in relation to their sound and visual environment, and mood. The experiment lasts approximately two weeks depend­ing on the number of notifications per day the participant finds acceptable.

Within the ANIMA project we are particularly interested in people who live in a wider airport region considering taking part. Your contribution to our research will entail downloading and using the app. At random times across the day, you will be prompted to engage with the app. All data collected will be totally anonymous (no personal data is gathered) and used solely for research purposes. By statistically analysing the responses of people living in airport regions, the ANIMA research team will gain greater understanding of what sound/visual factors contribute to different levels of perceived quality of life. Based on our findings, we will be in a better position to share knowledge with policymakers to enable them to improve the quality of life in residential areas.

Currently, the number of people exposed to a certain level of aircraft noise is calculated on the basis of a person’s registered residence. It is recognised that people’s daily activities naturally involve movements away from/towards home during the day and that they are, thus, exposed to higher/lower sound levels in their environment. As researchers, we would like to have a clearer view of overall movements, and the app asks, therefore, for permission to register your rough position all the time. Data is completely anonymous – we do not know whose position is being registered – and the location data are rounded to a 100x100m grid, thereby making it even more “uncertain” where the user actually was. You can naturally refuse to be followed, but we would really appreciate if you wouldn’t do so.

It is important to underline that we know that current levels of air traffic are extremely low compared to pre-pandemic levels. Thus, this research is not designed to capture experience of air traffic that is in anyway representative of previous aircraft volumes. The study is focused, instead, on how people’s interactions, activities and movements are affected by their soundscape. We are carrying out the study to enable us to determine the app’s usability and potential applicability when aviation is well on its way to recovery. By being involved, you will be providing us with snapshots of your experience – we have no intention to extrapolate or misinterpret the results.