Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 12:56 UK

Heathrow noise claim 'misleading'

Heathrow airport
The ASA said the advert should not appear in its current form again

An advert saying a third runway at Heathrow will not make the airport dirtier or noisier is "misleading", the Advertising Standards Authority says.

Claims the runway would not go ahead if local air quality did not meet EU standards on concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were also misleading, it ruled.

The advert was placed in newspapers by pro-expansion group Future Heathrow prior the runway's approval.

The group said the advert was justified and said it was bemused by the finding.

The advert was published in newspapers before the government's January 2009 decision to approve a third runway at the west London airport.

The evidence... was not sufficient to justify an absolute claim that noise and pollution would not increase following the construction of a third runway
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

A Future Heathrow spokesperson said: "Over the last six years, the government has repeatedly stated that a third runway would have to meet specific environmental conditions.

"In particular, it would have to result in a Heathrow noise footprint no larger than with two runways in 2002, and that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide around Heathrow would have to be within the future EU limit."

'Green light'

It said it followed that a third runway would not be allowed if it made Heathrow noisier or dirtier.

The ASA said: "We noted Future Heathrow and BAA firmly believed that the noise and air limits would not be breached, but considered that the evidence we had seen was not sufficient to justify an absolute claim that noise and pollution would not increase following the construction of a third runway."

It said it appreciated the government's commitment to meeting EU standards for nitrogen dioxide levels by 2020.

But that was not equivalent to the claim that Heathrow would not 'get the green light unless local air quality met stringent EU standards on concentrations of nitrogen dioxide'.

The ASA said the advert must not appear again in its current form.



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