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Heathrow to reduce night flights, noise if expanded

Staff writer |
Heathrow Airport said it would reduce night flights and limit noise and air pollution if given the green light to build a third runway.

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The airport's chief executive John Holland-Kaye said he was confident they can create a "cleaner, quieter Heathrow delivering more for the UK economy and that clears the way for the prime minister to make the right choice to expand Heathrow and deliver a stronger economy".

The government is due to make a decision on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick next summer.

Gatwick Airport has said it was the only option that would deliver for the UK.

The Davies Commission last year recommended expanding Heathrow with strict environmental restrictions that included curbs to overall noise and air pollution and a ban on night flights.

Heathrow has proposed a ban on flights landing between 11pm and 5.30am, from their current 11.30pm finish and 4.30am start.

Davies Commission, however, suggested there should be no night flights between 11.30pm to 6am.

Chair of the anti-noise group HACAN ClearSkies, John Stewart, said people might be dissatisfied that Heathrow's restriction on flights will not be extended to 6.00am and questioned whether it was possible to reduce air pollution at the busy airport.

"The bigger problem with air pollution is most of it comes from traffic and it's out of Heathrow's control to deal with air pollution from traffic. They can't really guarantee that air pollution levels can be brought down to EU legal limits," he added.

Holland-Kaye believes it is possible for Heathrow to meet EU air quality limits if it expands. He blamed diesel vehicles for air pollution and has written to new London Mayor Sadiq Khan to extend the ultra-low emission zone to the M25.

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