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Heathrow Airport: Carbon Emissions

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the effect of a third runway at Heathrow on levels of carbon dioxide emissions resulting from stacking by commercial aircraft awaiting clearance to land at Heathrow. (254681)

The Department for Transport’s report, “Improving the Air Passenger Experience”, provides appropriate estimates of aircraft stacking above Heathrow. This report is available at:

Figure 27 on page 25 shows that in 2006-07, 56 per cent. of arriving aircraft were held in a stack and for those held, there was an average 8.5 minute hold. This equates to roughly 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft stacking at Heathrow in 2006-07.

As the capacity constraint is reached at Heathrow, these delays and emissions are forecast to increase in future without additional capacity.

Although the effect on stacking of a third runway has not yet been quantified, it is anticipated that a third runway will reduce the need for aircraft to be held in stacks. It will also enable the airport to operate with greater flexibility for slot re-timing with potentially fewer delays for passengers.