02:13PM, Wednesday 11 May 2016
Heathrow Airport has promised a reduction in night flights if it is granted permission to build a third runway.
The airport has agreed to a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled flights between 11pm and 5.30am if the project goes ahead, an increase from the five-hour ban in place today.
In proposals set out today, the airport also said it will support the introduction of an independent authority to regularly review noise and use ‘advances in navigational technology’ to provide respite for people living in flight paths.
It added the Environment Agency will be able to provide transparent scrutiny of the measures it will introduce to meet air quality rules and it will create an ‘ultra low-emissions zone’ for airport vehicles by 2025.
The promises are in response to conditions set out by the Airports Commission when it recommended a third runway be built in July.
Heathrow said it will meet, and in most cases exceed, those conditions.
In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron today, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said:
“You set up the Airports Commission and it unanimously recommended expanding Heathrow. You demanded ambitious plans from my team to deliver expansion with a bold and fair deal for our neighbours.
“Today, I am proud to submit a comprehensive plan that meets and exceeds your demands. This is a big commitment from us, but it is the right choice for the country, local communities and jobs across Britain.
“We have acted now to let you and your government make the right choice, in the long term interest of our country. It will enable you to choose Heathrow and secure a stronger economy and Britain’s place in the world.
“Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed."
Gatwick Airport, which is bidding to build a second runway instead, has criticised the proposals.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate described the promises as a ‘desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed’.
He said Heathrow ‘cannot wish away the reality of its location’ and added noise from the expanded airport would ‘newly impact hundreds of thousands of people’.
Mr Wingate also hit out at Heathrow’s air quality record, adding a new runway would ‘only make matters worse’.
The Government is set to make a decision on airport expansion later this year.
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