How Pilots Live author Simon Bennett on the new Heathrow runway

Plans for extra Heathrow runway are ‘already obsolete’, says University of Leicester academic

Dr Simon Bennett, author of How Pilots Live, reported to the Commons Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into modernisation of the UK’s airspace

A researcher at the University of Leicester has told a Commons Transport Select Committee that plans to build a new runway at Heathrow are ‘already obsolete’.

Dr Simon Bennett, who conducts research onrisk management in commercial and military aviation, submitted written evidence to the Committee’s inquiry into airspace management and modernisation.

The Transport Committee launched its inquiry to identify the need for change to current airspace structures and potential barriers to implementing these changes.

In his evidence, Dr Bennett suggested that the UK is falling behind other European nations and that further runways at both Heathrow and Gatwick were needed to reduce the environmental impact of air travel in the UK.

According to Dr Bennett, the lack of runway capacity means that aircraft are required to hold at low altitude.

‘Stacking’ of aircraft in this manner causes air pollution, a problem only likely to grow with 3.1 million flights a year expected in the UK by 2030.

Dr Bennett, Director of the Civil Safety and Security Unit in the School of Business at the University of Leicester, said: “Viewed through a systems-thinking lens, Britain’s airspace problem is multi-dimensional.

“The primary issue is runway capacity. Getting aircraft on the ground quickly is safer, more economical and more environmentally friendly than leaving them bouncing around in stacks over the south-east of England.”

He added: “The day after Britain triggered Article 50, the Chancellor warned that Britain must be ‘more open to business than at any time in history’. The creation of more capacity must be supported by investment in the best air traffic control technologies, staff and practices the country can afford.”

The Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester delivers postgraduate courses and professional qualifications in risk, crisis and disaster management from lecturers at the forefront of research in their field.

All parliamentary committees will cease to exist after the dissolution of parliament on the 3 May 2017, following the decision to hold an early general election.

View Dr Simon Bennett’s written evidence here: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/transport-committee/airspace-management-and-modernisation/written/49598.pdf

More information on the Transport Committee’s inquiry is available here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2015/airspace-management-modernisation-launch-16-17/

Dr Simon Bennett can be contacted on: sab22@le.ac.uk or 0116 229 7577.

 

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