Climate costs 'fiddled' for third runway at Heathrow

A A A

A "bogus accounting trick" has been used to justify building a third runway at Heathrow and ministers have seriously underestimated the environmental impact of the development, it was claimed yesterday.

Campaigners and opposition MPs warned that a cost analysis of the project's impact on the climate came up with a figure which was only a third of that set out in a global warming study for the Government by the former Treasury official Sir Nicholas Stern.

The consultation paper on the expansion of Heathrow, published last month, said the cost of climate change caused by the project would be 4.8bn. But Friends of the Earth insisted that the true figure, based on Sir Nicholas's estimate, was 13.4bn.

The Department for Transport claims building a third runway will increase the number of flights to and from Heathrow from 473,000 a year to 700,000-plus by 2030, and generate an extra 181 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2080.

Simon Bullock, of Friends of the Earth, said: "The Government is using a bogus accounting trick to force through its massively damaging Heathrow expansion. The economic and social damage from climate change far outweighs the benefits to rich passengers 30 years from now getting slightly cheaper flights.

"If the Government is as serious as it claims to be about tackling climate change, it would announce a halt to new runways, at Heathrow and elsewhere."

Martin Horwood, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, added: "This is a disgrace. The Government has massaged the figures to hide the impact of this unwanted and unnecessary expansion. As a result, it has given the green light to one of the very projects that will stop it meeting its own carbon reduction targets. The cost to the environment and the economy will be dreadful."

The consultation claims the net benefit of the scheme will be 5bn, "even after taking account of climate change and noise costs". But Friends of the Earth said that if ministers used a less optimistic figure for the cost of climate change, any economic benefits of the runway would be wiped out by its environmental consequences. Guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, published in July, estimated that the cost of Heathrow's extra C02 emissions would be 19 per tonne at 2000 prices. The Stern review, by contrast, quoted 53 per tonne, based on the price of carbon if the world did not curb emissions, Mr Bullock said.

The public has until 27 February to respond to the proposals for a third runway, a sixth terminal and changes to take-off and landing patterns and aircraft approach routes.

Edward Lister, the leader of Wandsworth Council and a spokesman for the 2M group, which represents 12 local authorities affected by the development, said yesterday: "The assumptions in the consultation are totally flawed. This whole thing will end up in court."

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits