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Heathrow: Carbon Emissions

Volume 474: debated on Monday 21 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what she estimates the annual emissions of carbon dioxide arising from the third runway at Heathrow will be. (188485)

The consultation document “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” published in November 2007 by the Department for Transport includes information on the climate change impacts of the three options which involve an additional runway at Heathrow. The consultation closed on 27 February 2008.

The latest UK air passenger demand and CO2 forecasts are reported in DFT’s “UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts”, November 2007, available at:

In line with the Air Transport White Paper commitment, these forecasts assume that aviation meets its external climate change costs.

Table 17 on page 178 of the consultation document set out the carbon dioxide emissions under each option in total, on an annual basis, and the total climate change cost:

Total CO2 (million tonnes)

Average CO2 per year (million tonnes)

Total climate change costs (£ billion)

Option 1—Heathrow third runway around 2020




Option 2—Mixed mode at 480,000 ATMs around 2010, Heathrow third run way 2020




Option 3 —MM at 480,000 ATMs around 2010, MM at 540,000 ATMs around 2015, Heathrow third runway around 2020




1 For appraisal consistency this is expressed over 70 years, although the additional total emissions occur over 60 years. The equivalent figure over 60 years is 3.01 million.

The UK is continuing to press for the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). As the Heathrow consultation document states, under current proposals aviation emissions would effectively be capped at the average level over the period 2004 to 2006. This means that when the trading scheme is established, any additional aviation emissions above that level would lead to no increase in total emissions, since airlines would have to pay for the equivalent emissions reductions in other sectors.