Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Environmental Fears 'No Bar to Airport Expansion' TRANSPORT

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Environmental Fears 'No Bar to Airport Expansion' TRANSPORT

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL LANCEFIELD business@ncjmedia.co.uk

EXPANSION of Heathrow or Gatwick should not be reject ed on environmental grounds as progress on mitigating the impact of air travel is likely to continue, according to a new study.

Research by the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) claimed there have been "rapid" improvements on aircraft noise, car bon emissions and nitrogen oxide pollution due to aviation over the past 30 years.

The report stated: "Over the com ing decades it is foreseeable that a range of solutions will enable fore casts of future growth to be delivered within acceptable environmental boundaries, even without step changes in technology."

But antiHeathrow expansion campaigners said the ITC was "not living in the real world".

In December ministers postponed a final decision on whether to back expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick, with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin saying fresh analysis of the environmental impact was required.

The ITC said reducing CO2 emis sions "is not an impossible problem to solve" due to carbon trading and advances in airframe technology to reduce fuel use.

The study said stifling the UK's avi ation capacity in a bid to restrict car bon output would "only succeed in pushing its portion of emissions to other countries".

The researchers accepted the impact of aviation on noise and local air quality poses "significant chal lenges", but said they were not "insurmountable".

They said between the late 1980s and recent years there was a delay in implementing technological improvements which reduce noise.

Aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 deliver improve ments in noise and are expected to be "quickly" rolled out to replace older planes, according to the report.

The ITC stated that the "continu ous improvement" in automotive technology "should significantly reduce the impact" of airport traffic on air quality. …

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