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Heathrow expansion - key facts about congestion

We believe that the environmental impact of expansion is clear - more flights equals more primary and secondary pollution.

Our view

We believe expansion at Heathrow would be detrimental to the environment as:

  • It would mean up to 220,000 additional flights each year
  • Aviation alone already accounts for 6% of our national CO2 emissions
  • Extra flights could mean an increase to 53 million road users by 2030
  • Nitrogen Dioxide levels around Heathrow already breach EU standards; this would only get worse with increased numbers of flights and cars
  • Air pollution is very bad for our health, linked to issues such as respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer

Additionally, the increase in passenger numbers could lead to:

  • An already busy road network becoming progressively more overwhelmed and gridlocked
  • Public transport becoming even more crowded and unreliable

Pro-expansion view

However, pro-expansion supporters may argue that:

  • Airport pollution would stay within EU limits due to future improvements in aircraft emissions
  • Environmental impacts can be limited through schemes such as carbon trading
  • Congestion can be lessened through investment in transport infrastructure

Updated: 20 May 2016

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