I would like to respond to John Ferris's letter, 'Time to join protesters' (Chronicle, January 29) and clarify some facts concerning Heathrow's future growth.
BAA is aware that the decision to expand Heathrow Airport has been a very difficult issue, particularly for residents who will be directly affected. We intend to work closely with the local community as the planning process proceeds and provide as much information and support as possible.
The Government has made it clear that additional flights will only be permitted if the strict environmental limits on noise and emissions are met. These limits will be overseen by independent bodies with statutory powers to limit flights, if necessary.
If, for any reason, the limits are not being met, both organisations will have statutory powers to limit the number of flights on a third runway.
The Government has also said that additional landing slots on the third runway will be ring-fenced for use by only the most environ-mentally-friendly aircraft, giving airlines a real incentive to invest as quickly as possible in the most fuel efficient planes.
In addition, the initial capacity of a third runway will be limited at 605,000 flights per annum, around half the increase originally anticipated. This cap will remain in place until at least 2020, when the Committee for Climate Change will be responsible for deciding whether aviation is on track to reduce its carbon emissions to 2005 levels by 2050.
DAMON HUNT BAA head of media.