jueves, 18 de julio de 2013

Letters: How an expanded Heathrow would help tackle emissions

Your editorial (Gearing up for Airstrip One, 18 July) says it is hard to imagine how the UK will cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 if it is building a third runway at Heathrow. Here is how it can be done. New fuel-efficient aircraft, the use of sustainable alternative fuels and more efficient flight routings mean air traffic could double without increasing emissions. If international carbon trading is added to these factors then emissions would reduce, achieving the global aviation industry's commitment to halve emissions by 2050. The independent Committee on Climate Change has advised the government that if the UK is to meet its climate change targets then passenger numbers should not increase by more than 60% by 2050. A third runway at Heathrow would deliver only around one-third of this amount.

Also, constraining capacity at the UK's only hub airport is a bad way to tackle emissions. Not only does it lead to wasteful emissions from aircraft circling London waiting to land, it means passengers who want to travel from the UK to China are forced to fly via a European or Middle Eastern hub instead, taking two flights instead of one and flying further for longer. The journey from Newcastle to Beijing, for example, is 1,800 miles longer via Dubai than via Heathrow. From a carbon point of view, the most efficient place for airport capacity is next to the greatest centre of population. For Europe, that is London and the south-east.

Britain's carbon targets are important and we are committed to playing our part in delivering them. But they will be mere window-dressing if they are delivered at the cost of increasing global emissions. It is time for a more sophisticated approach.
Colin Matthews
Chief executive, Heathrow

• Britain is a trading nation and requires a globally competitive hub airport. Heathrow cannot be that airport. An expanded Heathrow would have horrendous implications for noise and air quality. We must stop trying to fit a quart into a pint pot and look east. On Monday the mayor and Transport for London laid out three options for building a new four-runway hub airport. There are advantages to each of the three schemes but, whether the Davies commission chooses an expanded Stansted, an airport on the Isle of Grain or an island airport in the Thames estuary, those who oppose Heathrow expansion should unite in favour of a viable alternative or they play into Heathrow's hands.
Richard Tracey
GLA Conservatives transport spokesman

• Boris Johnson would turn Heathrow into housing, which would give him happy voters in those areas relieved of noise and pollution. Then he'd build new capacity, and rip up even more land to build the new transport links that would be needed to get people from airport to London. By some amazing stroke of luck, none of those blighted by these proposals vote in London elections. Either he really does have a giant intellect and is stunningly cynical, even for a politician or… Perhaps others can supply those suggestions.
Christopher Airey
Good Easter, Essex

• There is already a fully operational third runway just six miles north of Heathrow with most of the buildings necessary to handle passengers. It is called Northolt. It could be connected to Heathrow by a relatively low-cost transport system and become a satellite for domestic and short-haul flights. In 1952, Northolt handled some 50,000 aircraft movements, making it the busiest airport in Europe. Is there any reason why it cannot repeat the exercise and save a lot of money and destruction of homes?
Martyn Day
Twickenham, Middlesex