New report states that technology can overcome noise and environmental pollution issues from proposed third runway

Advances in technology, airport operations and new aircraft designs will mitigate the environmental impact of a third runway at Heathrow, a report by the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) has claimed.

Incremental improvements such as a 1.6% increase in aircraft efficiency per year would alleviate sustainability concerns at the airport, the report found. However, it noted that noise could be distributed over a wider area than currently if Heathrow gains an additional runway.

The report also identifed that due to the use of larger aircraft, hub operations emit up to 24% fewer carbon emissions than if that same connectivity were provided through point-to-point services. However, the research notes a trade-off in that noise would be more widely dispersed under the point-to-point model.

Stephen Hickey, chair of the ITC’s aviation working group and ITC commissioner said: “”Having reviewed these important sustainability issues in-depth, it is clear that the environmental challenges of limiting the carbon emissions, noise and local air quality impacts can be tackled.”

“Whether the Government pursues the proposal to expand Gatwick or Heathrow, the ITC research demonstrates that sustainability concerns should not stop the UK realising the great additional benefits that increased connectivity can provide.

“The findings suggest that noise and local air quality impacts can be managed downwards given the right mix of operational, policy and technological development, while incremental improvements in carbon emission output are being delivered on an annual basis.”

The report was produced by RDC Aviation for ITC.