The UK’s Gatwick Airport has unveiled new data showing that 19 of 26 monitoring sites around Heathrow Airport have exceeded legal nitrogen dioxide (NO²) limits by up to 162%.

Gatwick said that several areas around Heathrow violate air quality regulations, making it unfit for further construction activities.

It is currently illegal for a third runway to be built at the airport.

The data was collected over a period of three months across major roads and residential areas.

It shows that the worst affected areas include St Peter’s Way, Harmondsworth; Pinglestone Close, Harlington; Jolly Waggoners Roundabout, Cranford; West Road, Osterley; and Hatch Lane, Harmondsworth.

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Air quality around Heathrow continues to soar way above legal limits today and it is inconceivable that it could improve fast enough to make expansion legal anytime soon.

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"Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits."

“Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits. 

“We would have a new runway operational by 2025 without any of the environmental, construction and financial delays that Heathrow will inevitably face. It’s a no-brainer. ”

The airport claims that its newly published data is more comprehensive than that provided by monitoring stations run by local authorities in the UK.

Traffic around Heathrow will cause delays every day for up to seven years from 2021, when construction on the third runway is scheduled to begin.

This year, Gatwick is expecting a government decision to expand the airport.

Image: Construction around Heathrow Airport would be illegal. Photo: courtesy of Gatwick Airport.