5/11/15 for immediate use
“Clear Commitment” by Heathrow Airport to “significantly” reduce night flights if 3rd runway goes ahead
Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye made a commitment to significantly reduce night flights if permission was given for a third runway.
Cross-examined yesterday by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee (1), Mr Holland-Kaye gave the clearest signal yet that a new runway would lead to a reduction in flights before 6am. But he appeared to rule out a total ban.
He told the committee: “There are huge benefits to local communities for getting rid of the early morning scheduled arrivals between 4.30 and 6am”.
“Equally there is a big cost to that for the UK economy because those are very valuable trading routes to the Far East, Singapore and Hong Kong. It’s not easy to resolve that”.
“We are working on it. I’m confident that we will be able to find a way through that and that there’s a real opportunity to significantly reduce night flying at Heathrow with expansion.”
The Airports Commission, which the previous Government set up in 2012, to look at the need for more runways, recommended in its report published in July of this year that a legally-binding ban on night flights should be a condition of a third runway being given the go-ahead.
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN which opposes Heathrow expansion, “For the first time I can remember a Heathrow CEO has talked about the possibility of a real reduction in night flights”.
“However, we believe they are so disturbing to so many people that a complete ban on planes before 6am should be introduced whether or not a third runway is built.”
The Government is expected to take a decision about whether or not to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow before Christmas.
Before the start of the Committee hearings campaigners staged a demonstration outside the building to highlight the air pollution problems around Heathrow
Notes for Editors:
(1). The Environmental Audit Committee is conducting an investigation into whether the conditions the Airport Commission recommended should be met if a third runway goes ahead are feasible.