Heathrow Airport signalled its determination to get a third runway by accepting most of the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s report last year.
It has agreed to a legally-binding agreement ruling out a fourth runway. It is proposing to extend the length of time planes are banned during the night by one and a half hours. And it has said the use of the new runway will be limited if problems with air pollution persist.
Last July the Airports Commission, set up by the Government to look at the future of aviation, recommended a third runway should be built at Heathrow. But it made clear permission should be dependent on tough conditions being met. Today in its long-awaited response to the report Heathrow has accepted most of the key conditions in full.
Here are the details: http://mediacentre.heathrow.com/pressrelease/details/81/Expansion-News-23/6296
Immediate comment from HACAN:
Heathrow has gone further than most people expected in largely accepting the conditions set out by the Airports Commission. And, in some cases, it has gone further than the conditions. It had probably little option but to do so if it was to convince the Government to give the green light to a 3rd runway later this year. Not to have done so would have counted against it.
HACAN remains opposed to a 3rd runway. Our supporters to want a tougher night noise regime (we’ve long called for a ban on night flights before 6am) and more respite during the day but they don’t want to wait 10 years for a third runway to be built to get them.
But Heathrow’s decision to move on night flights may have implications even without a third runway. There has been stalemate on night flights for decades. HACAN has long campaigned for a ban on flights before 6am. The airlines have stoutly resisted it and some have called for more night flights. It is possible Heathrow’s proposals may prize open a door on night flights that has been firmly closed for 25 years, whether or nor not a third runway is given the green light.