We understand that air quality is a real concern that needs to be tackled urgently in London and the South East for the sake of people’s health.
Heathrow has a good track record when it comes to improving our effect on air quality – in fact, we cut ground-based emissions by 16% over 5 years.
All of the air quality monitoring stations in the immediate vicinity of Heathrow meet local air quality objectives. There are two sites that do not meet those standards located just under 2km from the airport, beside major road junctions. At these two locations, airport-related emissions contribute less than 16% to the total. These demonstrate the broader problem London and the South-East faces with traffic pollution.
Aircraft themselves have little impact on local air quality. Pollution from aircraft once in the air disperses rapidly in the atmosphere with very little contribution to local air quality, and once aircraft climb above 500-600ft, the contribution that they make is negligible.
Air quality and expansion
We have been clear that we will only expand Heathrow in accordance with air quality rules and have made a commitment of no more airport-related road traffic with a third runway.
History proves this is possible. Over the last 20 years, Heathrow’s passenger numbers have risen by almost 80 per cent yet airport related road traffic has remained broadly static.