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AEF response to Airports Commission Interim Report: environmental and social concerns forgotten

17th December, 2013

The Airports Commission Interim Report was launched today (Tuesday 17th December). In it, the Commission concludes that runway capacity will be under “very substantial” pressure in the South East by 2030 requiring additional runway capacity, even in a carbon constrained world when aviation emissions are constrained to 2005 levels.

In response, Tim Johnson, Director of Aviation Environment Federation[i] said this

“Sir Howard Davies has spoken of decisions on airport capacity needing to balance the national interest with local considerations. Yet the Commission’s report reaches a conclusion on the need for a new runway before it has undertaken an  environmental and social analysis that could still rule out all the options on the table.

Building a new runway will not be possible within our national climate targets unless the Government is willing to limit growth at all the other airports in the UK – something the Government will not be willing to do. In his report, Sir Howard Davies estimates the costs to the UK economy of not building a new runway. The costs of blowing our enshrined climate targets will be much higher.

Similarly, previous proposals for airport expansion have not been given the political green light because of insurmountable local constraints relating to air pollution and noise. There is no explanation on how these local obstacles can be overcome. ”

AEF will outline how the Interim Report compared to our three tests[ii] in a briefing to follow.


Tim Johnson, Director, 07710381742


[i] The Aviation Environment Federation is the main UK NGO working exclusively on the environmental impacts of aviation and we play a leading role in the Airport Watch coalition. We represent people affected by airports of all sizes across the UK and those concerned with the growing climate impact of aviation. We want to ensure the debate on airport capacity takes social and environmental concerns into account as well as those that are economical


[ii] Our three tests for the Airports Commission on climate, noise and economic justification are available at