The authority in charge of overseeing aviation in London has called for laws that reflect global warming, in a move that mirrors increasing awareness of the threat across the political arena.
Local residents around London’s main airports, particular Heathrow, have petitioned council areas to introduce by-laws in way of reducing noise and heightened concerns over pollution caused by increased airport traffic.
Environmental campaigners previously welcomed the rejection of proposals for a third runway at Heathrow on grounds that it was not in line with David Cameron’s widely advertised green agenda.
Backbench Members of Parliament won a victory against Heathrow extension despite a two-line whip on the issue in the Commons. This time the Prime Minister appears ready to leave local airport regulations in the hands of regionalised authorities – most likely in an effort to further such rebellion.
The Committee on Climate change, which saw to its ranks added several members less than enthusiastic on environmental issues, has nonetheless ruled that practical regulations be introduced at Heathrow and Gatwick. These regulations involves a significant change in runway planning in order that taxi-ing planes use less fuel on their way to the runway – it is often overlooked how much emissions are used by air traffic not yet cleared for take-off.
Recommendations have stated that future aircraft using Heathrow as a hub should employ more eco-friendly technology, which may prompt a commercial backlash from small airlines unable to afford the necessary investment. However the pollution caused at airports has been a long standing thorn in the side of the aviation industry and there has been very little criticism from airport authorities, including the largest operator, BAA.
Despite a third runway at Heathrow being over-ruled in parliament, the committee did state that expansion of airports in South East England was a necessary evil – but this expansion must now fall in line with targets on carbon emissions and seek to reduce the concentration over energy use in the aviation sector.
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