Land Quality

Minimising effects on land quality is an important consideration in the design and operation of the Project. Land quality covers not only the cleanliness of the soil, but also agricultural land quality and mineral resources.

Some areas have been landfilled with waste in the past and there is potential for contamination. Many of these sites will be improved by the earthworks to construct the Project.

We are committed to using land in a way that manages risks to human health and the environment and limits significant adverse effects on good quality agricultural land, soils and mineral resources such as sand and gravel.

Aspects of our proposals that could cause effects

Land contamination effects could be caused by the presence of existing contamination in soils and water or through pollution of the environment during construction activities.

There may be effects on agricultural land and mineral resources where newly created airport facilities are built on best and most valuable agricultural land or land which contains sand and gravel resources which could be excavated for use in construction.

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

A significant positive effect will occur as a result of removing or cleaning up a large amount of existing contamination. This will ensure that land is suitable for the proposed use within the Project.

Significant adverse effects are expected to occur as a result of the permanent loss of good quality agricultural land. There is a risk that certain sand and gravel mineral resources could be lost as a result of the land required for the Project, in a worst case scenario.

Measures for reducing potential effects

A range of environmental measures have been embedded into the Project design to minimise the land quality effects, including the use of poorer quality agricultural land for the expansion of Heathrow rather than that of a higher quality where possible. We also intend to extract mineral resources for use in the Project where practicable, reducing the risk that these resources would be lost.

In addition, good practice environmental measures have been employed through the Draft Code of Construction Practice to minimise land quality effects. This includes storing materials appropriately to minimise the risks from accidental spillages and leaks and the removing of good quality soils, sand and gravel, prior to construction for reuse, where possible, within landscaping schemes and green spaces.

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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