The decision to deny Heathrow’s expansion is not the first of its kind in the UK: similarly, North Somerset Council refused a planning application to enable the expansion of Bristol Airport in early February 2020. With 270 local authorities having declared climate emergencies to date, arguments in support of airport expansions can no longer rely on economic improvements to ensure approval. Chair of ADEPT’s Transport and Connectivity Board, Mark Kemp, said: “The Appeal Court’s decision on the Heathrow expansion shows how much climate change will impact the aviation sector. Aviation needs to deliver on any promises linked to expansion, particularly on-air quality and noise reduction, and to mitigate the impacts on local communities and the environment. Alongside the North Somerset decision, it is apparent how much attitudes to airport expansion are changing. A national strategy would set out a clear vision for a more sustainable aviation sector, benefiting the country, the environment, industry and local authorities.”
The paper outlines the challenges currently facing the aviation industry, with the need to balance environmental costs with the economic benefits of aviation growth highlighted as the top priority. ADEPT recognises the significant impact aviation has on the environment but acknowledges that aviation is inextricably linked with economic growth.