Heathrow expansion may breach UK’s climate change policy

High Court legal action has been taken by Friends of the Earth (FoE) against the expansion of Heathrow airport. FoE argue that the Airport’s National Policy Statement (NPS), published by the government in June, is unlawful as it breaches the UK’s climate change policy in addition to its sustainable development duties.

According to FoE, the Airports NPS does not take into account domestic targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction under the Climate Change Act 2008. Furthermore, FoE claim that the Airport’s NPS does not detail any plans to factor in the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to below 2°C. It is in their belief that the expansion of Heathrow airport will jeopardise the UK’s ability to make the necessary reductions in greenhouse gasses to prevent global warming from causing irreversible impacts for the environment. At present, the UK’s emissions targets do allow for an increase in aviation emissions however this is at a cost of greater cuts elsewhere.

Currently, the UK is not on course to meet its own targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions for the 2020s and the latest progress report makes it clear that the government is not doing enough. For a second year in a row, emissions from the building sector increased by 1 per cent in 2017. The report by the Committee on Climate Change state that if the UK is to meet its target emissions then ‘concrete policies’ must be introduced for the building sector.

Source: Future Build & New Scientist

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