The South East Green Party has welcomed a report by the Environmental Audit Committee (published 6am December 1st) which says carbon emissions from aviation must be kept to 2005 levels.
The report, which assesses the environmental impact of expansion at Heathrow as proposed by the Airports Commission, says both the airport and Government must meet environmental concerns before approval for the project is given.
The report has looked in detail at potential impacts of a third runway at Heathrow from increased air pollution, noise and carbon emissions. MPs are due to decide soon whether expansion should go ahead at Heathrow or Gatwick.
South East Greens – which made a submission to the Inquiry – had told the Environmental Audit Committee that the proposal shouldn’t go ahead at either airport because it could breach binding carbon limits. The report says the Government “will need to set out, before making the final decision to go ahead, clear and binding responsibilities and milestones to ensure environmental standards are enforced and measures can be implemented, monitored and evaluated in a timely way. Failure to do so could see the project caught up in protracted legal disputes, lead to environmental standards being missed and introduce an element of commercial risk”.
It found a “significant gap” between the Government’s aim to cut carbon emissions and the likely outcome of the huge increase proposed in air travel. It says this is a “major concern” and the Government should have a strategy next year to keep aviation emissions at 2005 levels by 2050. Evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee predicted that aviation carbon emissions would rise from 6% of the national emissions total to 24% by 2040.
Jonathan Essex, Chair of South East Green Party and Council Councillor in Redhill, Surrey said:
"The Committee states that any airport expansion would most likely breach our existing climate targets, while we seek to agree stronger targets with other countries in Paris. We call on David Cameron to match the raising of climate commitments in Paris with stronger actions at home."
Sian Berry, Green Party Candidate for Mayor of London says:
"The Committee's conclusions on carbon are clear - expanding Heathrow and meeting our climate targets are incompatible. I call on all my fellow candidates for mayor to join me in opposing not just a new runway at Heathrow but also at Gatwick. This is essential for staying within our climate limits."
The EAC report can be viewed here