According to a report presented by MPs, the cost of reducing the carbon impact of Heathrow’s third runway has more than doubled since parliament approved expansion.
The New Economics Foundation has found that the runway’s carbon value or cleanup costs have increased from 50bn and 100bn respectively. This figure is twice the amount presented to ministers by the Department for Transport at the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), in 2018.
The price of abatement to offset carbon emissions from the runway is called the carbon value of the expansion. In June 2019, the government revised the carbon values to make them conform with new legally binding net-zero obligations.
These changes could have a significant effect on the proposed runway expansion, according to the report presented to the all-party parlamentar group on Heathrow expansion. Any policy or project that increases greenhouse gas emissions will be a major cost to society in a climate emergency. The report stated that either we suffer from deeper ecological collapse or someone has to clean up the gases.
According to the report, when a country like the UK has made a legal commitment to reduce carbon emissions to zero it means that most options for reducing and removing carbon from our atmosphere are being used.
According to the report, the cost of reducing or cleaning up new emissions rises with increasing climate ambition.
September was a busy month. Carbon abatement costs have been increased by a new set of expensesThey were released by the government.
Our calculations have shown that Heathrow’s carbon emissions from expansion has doubled over the period 2025-2050, from 50bn to more than 100bn, taking into account the new government carbon value. According to the report.
All proposed airport expansions will be affected by the change in costs. NEF states that eight airports are planning projects with climate costs that were significantly underestimated.
Research suggests that the eight active airport expansion plans have an emissions price tag totaling 73.6 billion between 2025-2050.
Only 11.8bn is likely to be reclaimed from taxes on the aviation industry. The remaining 62bn dollars will be a cost to the government and will constitute a huge subsidy to polluting industries and a significant economic, environmental or both cost to society, according to the report.
David Simmonds MP, co-chair of APPG, stated: This report highlights how important it is to get every detail right when looking at our future aviation picture, and the government’s Jet Zero review.
We cannot afford not to consider the implications of major projects such Heathrow expansion. Future generations will not be pleased that we have created complex financial mechanisms that won’t do anything for the environment.
Paul McGuinness is the chair of No 3rd Runway Coalition. He stated: Heathrow expansions carbon cost have risen exponentially. This is despite the fact that they have already put more greenhouse gas emitting aircrafts into our atmosphere. It is becoming increasingly clear that the government should cancel Heathrow expansion.
He stated that the Airline National Policy Statement, which contained expansion in principle in 2018, was voted for by MPs.
McGuinness said that now that Heathrow’s expansion has brought an exponential increase in carbon abatement costs, the scheme’s economic impact can only be seen as a huge loss to the UK economy.
Lord Deben (chair of the Climate Change Committee which advises the government) stated last month that there is no space for airport expansion.
CCC recommends that UK airports not be expanded unless they are on track to exceed its net emissions trajectory sufficiently and can accommodate additional demand.
A spokesperson for Heathrow stated that reducing carbon emissions from flying was always a key consideration in our plans to expand Heathrow.
We know that we will need to prove that a new runway can be used in the UK to meet its net zero goal. We remain focused on the pandemic and are confident that we can expand to meet more stringent targets.
The UK aviation sector was the first to commit to net zero, and published a detailed plan to achieve it. The recent commitment of the entire global aviation sector to net-zero and the ambition of the UK government for 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 are clear steps in the right direction towards reducing carbon emissions from flying, even as we continue to grow.