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Heathrow runway defended by air travel organizations  Sep 30, 2008

Proposals to replace a new runway at Heathrow with high speed rail were opposed by organizations in the air travel industry.

Air travel related companies railed against the Conservatives' proposals to scrap plans for a third runway at Heathrow and instead build high speed rail links from the capital to other parts of the country.

The proposal, which shadow transport secretary Theresa Villier said would "leave a lasting legacy for the future", failed to take into account advances in the airline industry, claimed an insider.

Mathew Knowles of the Society of British Aerospace Companies claimed the aviation industry had improved its environmental performance, according to the BBC and airport operator BAA also objected to the proposals.

He said: "Through technological innovation, fuel burn and therefore CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre have been cut by 70 per cent over the past 50 years and noise has been reduced by 75 per cent over the last 30 years."

However, while the air travel industry scrambled to defend itself, green campaigners and Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport acknowledged that "expanding Heathrow would break our chances of tackling climate change".

Figures from campaign group Rising Tide showed that a single flight can invalidate all the other energy-efficiency and carbon reducing measures a person can take.

On average, a person emits 2.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide in their home annually, 1.6 tonnes of CO2 and four to five tonnes through consumption. However, just one return flight to Sydney would cause more emissions than all these other sources, with an estimated 10.8 tonnes of CO2.

Heathrow runway defended by air travel organizations

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