3rd February, 2015
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gaping holes in Airports Commission’s analysis of airport expansion conceal potential environmental disaster
A new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick would be an ‘environmental disaster’, says the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF)  on the closing day of the Airports Commission’s final public consultation. The Commission’s analysis showed that a new runway would result in increased public health damage from noise and air pollution, and that CO2 emissions would breach the level compatible with climate change legislation unless the Government was to take new action to control them. But the Commission ran out of time to complete key pieces of research on greenhouse gas emissions and on air quality.
Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of Aviation Environment Federation said:
“A new runway at any of the shortlisted sites would be an environmental disaster, the Commission’s evidence suggests. But without a proper environmental analysis having been completed, the next Government will struggle to get an accurate picture of the full costs and benefits of expansion.
We are very disappointed that despite the thousands of pages of analysis the Commission has published on its short-listed proposals, the environmental analysis it committed to undertaking has not been finished in time. By its own admission, the Commission has not completed a detailed enough assessment of the impacts of a new runway either on air quality or on the cost of meeting national carbon commitments.
The environmental assessment presented so far is a patchwork of often damning, though incomplete, evidence about the impact of expansion, which could take place in areas described by the Commission as already suffering from ‘environmental stress’.”
In its response to the consultation , AEF criticised the Commission for leaving major gaps in its evidence, notably
Several new pieces of evidence have appeared during the consultation, meanwhile, sometimes within weeks of the deadline, leaving little time for the public to respond, while gaping holes in the analysis suggest that the overall environmental impact may have been significantly underestimated.
AEF is now calling on political parties not to accept the Airports Commission’s recommendations until all the relevant evidence has been gathered and made available for public scrutiny.
Contact: Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director, 020 3102 1509 / firstname.lastname@example.org