Data must be updated before decisions can be made on expansion of UK airports says new report

Government decisions on airport expansion are being based on unreliable environmental data, leading think tanks have claimed.

Current data makes it impossible to weigh up the true benefits and impacts of aviation, said the report by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) and Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The report found that the available data was widely disputed and unreliable for decision making on the future of air travel.

It also said that government decisions must not pre-empt international policy decisions addressing the impact of air travel on the environment.

Simon Retallack, Associate Director of IPPR, said: "Good policy-making needs to be based on evidence that is widely agreed to be sound, which is not the case when it comes to aviation policy. Before any major new decisions are taken on airports, it is vital that the evidence is looked at again through an independent and widely supported process."

The organisations said that a special commission should be established to update the data.