BAA Accused of 'Moving the Goal Posts'
group threatens legal challenge in Europe over Heathrow Air
group HACAN ClearSkies
has accused BAA of moving the goal posts over pollution levels
at Heathrow. HACAN ClearSkies claims that the new BAA figures,
due to be released on Monday throw up more questions than
they answer. BAA is set to claim that the Government has overestimated
the number people that would be affected by pollution levels
above the EU legal limit if a 3rd runway was built at Heathrow.
The Department for Transport, when it published its consultation
on the option of a 3rd runway earlier this year, admitted
that up to 35,000 could be affected.
Stewart, Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, said, "Just how many
times can goal posts be moved? BAA appears to have abandoned
the method it used to assess air pollution levels at the T5
Inquiry. We can only assume this is because they now find
them inconvenient. This sounds more like the sharp practice
of a street corner boy than a scientific investigation by
a responsible company."
added, "If the Government accepts these new figures without
explanation, there is every chance we will challenge them
in Europe. Under a key European Directive, the Government
is required to describe clearly the methods it has used to
predict the effects of a development on the environment.
ClearSkies posed the following questions about the new figures
Why has BAA changed the forecasts it presented to the Heathrow
Terminal 5 Inquiry? BAA's modelled forecasts presented to
the Inspector showed that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide
around Heathrow in 2016 would exceed levels permitted by Directive
1999/30/EC by 8% with four terminals and 21% with 5 terminals.
� Why did the Government not challenge those BAA forecasts
presented to the T5 Inquiry? The Government accepted the Inspector's
assessment of BAA forecasts in his report: "Having considered
all of the issues related to the prediction of concentrations,
I am satisfied that the model does provide an acceptable basis
for the assessment of the effects of Terminal 5 and its associated
road schemes. It is subject to a range of uncertainties but
I find no reason to believe that these are more likely to
produce overestimates than underestimates."
believes that the Government would also need to answer questions
were it to accept BAA's new figures:
Why has the Government accepted the estimates of an interested
party over its own figures? BAA has not adopted a public position
over a 3rd runway, but stands to gain income if a third runway
was built. It also has a vested interest in ensuring that
nitrogen dioxide levels at the existing airport do not exceed
the EC legal limit in 2009.
� Will the Government subject the BAA forecasts to peer review?
� Will the Government abandon its own model of measuring nitrogen
dioxide for all other aspects of its work if it goes for the
BA forecasts over Heathrow?
will publish its response to the consultation on the Regional
Air Studies on Monday 12th May 2003.