The leader of Richmond Council has called Heathrow's pledge to ban night flights a "feeble attempt to bribe London."

The airport's chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, today announced measures that would “exceed Airports Commission conditions”, including banning night flights from 11pm to 5.30am once a proposed third runway opens.

Heathrow agrees no fourth runway in attempt to secure third as it "meets or exceeds" Airports Commission conditions

But Richmond’s Lord True described the airport’s promises as “worthless.”

The Conservative peer said: “This so-called pledge falls short of what the Davies Commission requests and the Heathrow PR men simply cannot be believed.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye made the announcements this morning

“If they can stop pre-5.30am flights, why don’t they do it now? Rather than spending billions of pounds doing it?”

Among Heathrow’s responses to the Airport Commission report, which recommended the airport for expansion over Gatwick in July last year, included creating an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles by 2025 and not releasing new capacity until it can do so without delaying the UK’s compliance with EU air quality limits.

Lord True disputed these claims, however, and said: “They cannot comply with EU air quality limits and their ‘jam’ promises are worthless.

“The recent Volkswagen scandal has only highlighted public concern about the issue and if people’s health comes first – big Heathrow is dead in the water.”

The council leader has previously made it clear that should the Government give expansion the go-ahead – a decision that was expected to be made earlier this year but delayed – the council would launch legal action opposing the plans.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

How the airport might look with a new runway

He said: “Put plain and simply, this is a feeble emotional bribe from Heathrow. They have cherry-picked one of the many valid reasons against expansion and made token alterations to their original proposals.”

Lord True added: “We have now waited long enough for this decision. We have already made our feelings clear to the Government. Should they rule in favour of a Heathrow expansion – we will fight it in the courts.

“I say to Mr Cameron – hundreds of thousands of Londoners remember your promise – “no ifs, no buts,” and your personal commitment to our air quality.

“We expect our Prime Minister to keep his promise, listen to the people of London and say no to any expansion of the airport today.”