Carbonica believes traffic at Heathrow should be capped below present levels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Carbonica (Press release) – London, November 7, 2008 -- The UK government will hold a parliamentary debate on the expansion of London’s Heathrow airport in the House of Commons on Tuesday. The proposal includes the addition of a third runway, increasing the capacity of the capital’s already overstretched and congested airport.
A number of Labour backbenchers and Cabinet ministers are expected to concur with concerns expressed by the opposition that plans will undermine the government’s commitment to a green agenda.
The global carbon offset provider Carbonica opposes the plan as ill-conceived and contrary to the spirit of the Climate Change Bill, recently passed in the House of Commons, which sets out a target of 80% greenhouse gas emission cuts by 2050. The Bill is expected to become law before the end of the year, and therefore the emission targets will be legally binding for future British governments.
“We believe that Heathrow airport is in the wrong place and should stop growing” said Dr Mikel Susperregi, Managing Director of Carbonica. “With the introduction of new flight paths over North London, millions of Londoners are now affected by noise pollution. Heathrow can only expand within its limits and sooner or later it will be overtaken by other larger airports that do not have similar limitations; we have to accept the fact that its role as an international major hub will not be determined by the number of runways but by London’s importance as a destination.”
“There are too many passengers using Heathrow as a connecting airport” added Dr Susperregi. “This may be of financial interest to BAA and its Spanish owner Ferrovial, who have turned travel into a shopping mall experience, but it is of marginal interest to the UK’s economy and irrelevant to London’s international standing.”
Carbonica believes that there is an excessive level of unnecessary air travel, driven by the proliferation of budget airlines. “We believe that sustainability means that the number of passengers cannot grow indefinitely, just like the economy cannot grow forever” said Perpetua Sachs-Aitkinson, Carbonica’s Business Director. “It must reach a plateau where our economies function to provide us the goods and services that we need without recourse to depleting our planet’s resources.”
“The future of Heathrow lies in optimising the use of landing slots, curbing unnecessary travel and maximising occupancy of each aircraft, with fewer and larger planes carrying more passengers,” said Mrs Sachs-Aitkinson. “Investment in low-emission technologies and less noisy engines is essential to achieve a sustainable model for the airport’s future.”
Carbonica believes that proposed alternatives to Heathrow’s expansion, such a major international hub in the Thames estuary are problematic, owing to the environmental damage that it would cause. “A new major airport in the Thames estuary, such as in Sheerness, Kent, would disrupt wildlife, and in particular hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, for whom the proximity of the airport would be tantamount to an obliteration of their habitat” said Dr Susperregi.
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