Climate Change

The effects of climate change present challenges to the Project and the airport in the future.

This assessment

The climate change assessment focusses on how expansion could be affected by climate change so we can ensure that the design will be able to cope with projected future climate change effects.

An example of this is the need to consider how aircraft using the airport will be able to perform in higher temperatures; hot weather generally means aircraft need more of the runway to take off. This is something that we have looked closely at in our masterplan development process.

Aspects of our proposals that could cause effects

Climate change has the potential to have a direct effect on the airport (for example, very high rainfall filling drainage structures) to exacerbate environmental effects identified in other sections of this document and to affect the measures put in place to reduce effects on the environment (for example, migration of species from newly created habitats).

Based on climate change projections for the UK provided by the Met Office, we have reviewed which parts of the airport might be affected by a changed climate and the measures needed to ensure that the airport retains its resilience to these projected changes.

A summary of the effects reported in the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR)

The assessment has considered a range of different climate changes; higher average temperatures and more heatwave events, reduced summer rainfall, more frequent intense rainfall events; potentially increased extreme wind and storm events; and fewer extreme cold events.

If the airport design did not consider climate change there would be a greater chance of effects such as rainfall filling drainage, increased flooding, overheating in buildings and public spaces, failure of equipment in extreme temperatures, water shortages, operational disruption from storm events, and alterations to affected or new landscapes.

There are no significant effects following the assessment of climate change impacts on the construction and operational phases of the Project. This is because all relevant and implementable environmental measures have been embedded into the Project design.

Measures for reducing potential effects

A range of environmental measures have been included in the design of the Project to reduce the negative effects of climate change on the airport. This includes allowances for climate change in the design of buildings, infrastructure and the natural landscape to ensure expansion is resilient to projected changes in climate.

Climate change is also considered in the design of flooding, drainage and pollution control systems by allowing for increased winter river flow and rainfall. Our contractors will also be required to plan for extreme weather events in the context of climate change.

A Climate Change Adaption Plan (CCAP) will be prepared alongside the Environmental Statement. The CCAP will set out how climate change is considered throughout the design, construction and operations across the whole of Heathrow. Additionally, it will document monitoring and evaluation processes for continual improvement throughout the operation of an expanded Heathrow.

Existing good practice environmental measures will also continue to be adopted. These include our Climate Change Adaptation Reporting, an operational resilience framework, fire risk assessment, lightning protection units and a series of energy and water efficiency measures.

Have your say

We want to know what you think about our proposals to manage the environmental effects of expansion and, in particular:

  • whether there are any other initiatives or proposals that we should consider to address the emissions from airport related traffic or airport operations;
  • our proposals to help health and well-being, in particular whether there are any proposals that you think we should consider to address the effect of the Project on the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, neighbours and passengers;
  • our noise insulation schemes;
  • what factors are most important as we develop our proposals for noise management, in particular our proposals for the design and implementation of a noise envelope;
  • our proposals for maximising new jobs and training, in particular, whether there are any other ways that we can maximise skills and training opportunities to benefit our local communities;
  • on our approach to addressing effects on the historic environment, including any particular proposals you would like us to consider.

To respond to our proposals please answer the overarching question on the Environmental Introduction page.

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