We want to ensure that the expansion of Heathrow is sustainable. This means enhancing the airport’s social and economic benefits and reducing our negative environmental effects, including our generation and management of waste.

Aspects of our proposals that could cause effects

Construction works will generate wastes from excavations, demolition and construction activities. The increased number of passengers and flights that will use an expanded Heathrow will also result in more operational waste being generated (for example from litter bins, in-flight catering, retailers within the terminals, and new hotels). We have a duty to manage this waste responsibly and sustainably.

A summary of the effects reported in the PEIR

The waste arising from the construction and operation of the Project will require on-site management to increase re-use and recycling rates, and reduce the amount requiring disposal. There will be some waste which needs to be managed in existing off-site waste facilities, for example for further sorting of recyclables, composting, energy recovery, or landfill as the last resort.

The waste assessment focusses on the capacity of the surrounding waste facilities to manage (or otherwise) the waste arising from the Project. Significant effects may be caused if the waste results in a large reduction in landfill void space or a severe capacity gap in treatment infrastructure available in the local or regional area.

Even without the Project, the waste arising in the study area is already greater than the available waste treatment and disposal capacity. Without mitigation, the gap will increase over time as there is typically limited spare capacity within current waste facilities to manage the effects of future housing and population growth. The Project will lead to an acceleration in loss of this waste treatment and disposal capacity. As such, the preliminary assessment concludes that the Project is considered to have a significant negative effect on waste treatment and disposal capacity.

Measures for reducing potential effects

Embedded and good practice environmental measures on the management of waste have been included in the design of the Project in order to minimise likely significant effects including, for example, actions to promote the prevention, re-use and recycling of waste, with new on-site facilities to inspect, store and segregate waste. We will incorporate various measures to promote sustainable construction.

These include:

  • off-site assembly;
  • the use of standardised products and components, promoting the use of recycled or secondary materials, avoiding unnecessary packaging;
  • re-using excavation arisings on-site to minimise the need for landfill.

Any hazardous waste arisings from the excavation of historic landfill sites will be transported to licensed treatment and disposal facilities and we will endeavour to favour rail over road where reasonably practicable.

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.