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Heathrow expansion makes mockery of government commitments to tackle climate change

news release

Today’s government decision to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow “makes a complete mockery of government commitments to tackle climate change”, says Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton, who lives under the flightpath in west London, said:

“Expanding Heathrow would be a hugely damaging blow for local people, and makes a complete mockery of government commitments to tackle climate change.

“Local communities now face more noise, more air pollution and more misery from a quarter of a million extra flights each year.

“With the government poised to sign the Paris climate agreement, it’s decision to expand Heathrow – shortly after forcing fracking on the people of Lancashire – looks deeply cynical.

“However this is only the first step on a long journey that will see communities, councils and climate campaigners continue the battle to reverse this misjudged and damaging decision.”

Nic Ferriday of West London Friends of the Earth said:

“A third runway will mean an extra quarter of a million flights a year and will make noise and air pollution levels intolerable, unacceptable and probably illegal.

“But those of us on the ground left to suffer the consequences of Heathrow expansion also care about the impact that so many more flights will have on climate change. We will fight it every step of the way.”

• Aviation makes up nearly 7% of the UK’s overall carbon emissions. Airport expansion is incompatible with reaching the Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees
• The case for airport expansion is very weak. Taken together, London’s five airports already serve more destinations than any other European city
• 15% of the UK population take about 70% of all flights. Friends of the Earth backs proposals for a frequent flyer levy to replace Air Passenger Duty.

ENDS

Editor’s notes:

1. Earlier this month a Friends of the Earth petition against Heathrow expansion and calling for no new runways, signed by almost 9,000 people, was handed in to Downing Street.
2. Friends of the Earth response to the Airport Commission Consultation.
3. 15% of the UK population take about 70% of all flights [Campaign for Better Transport]
4. Friends of the Earth supports the scrapping of air passenger duty and replacing it with a new frequent flyers levy. Under the scheme Everyone would be able to take one flight a year without paying any levy, but for subsequent journeys the levy would rise each time.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust

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