Council calls for Heathrow health study

Hounslow Council wants an urgent health impact assessment to consider the potential effect of a third runway

The plea comes as airport operator BAA releases a report claiming the Government has vastly exaggerated the pollution likely to be caused by an extra runway at the airport.

Councillor Ruth Cadbury, Hounslow�s Executive Member for Cleaner Greener Neighbourhoods, said: �Hounslow already has some of the worst air pollution in the country, and any further expansion at Heathrow will only exacerbate the problem. This move by BAA is a real slap in the face, given their previous commitment against building any further runways at Heathrow. They ruled out the possibility when they were campaigning for Terminal Five, but now they�re changing their tune."

She added, �The pollution issue has always been one of the major issues preventing further expansion, and now that they�ve pinned their colours to the mast, BAA�s claim that fewer people around Heathrow will be exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide if a third runway goes ahead, appears to be just a little bit too convenient.

�The Government�s figures show that at least 35,000 people will be exposed to unacceptable levels of NO2 if the third runway goes ahead. BAA now say that only 10,000 people will be affected. Having used the same consultants as the Government, they have still managed to come up with such a massive discrepancy in the figures, and that must raise concerns over the accuracy of the information, which is why we are calling for an independent health impact study in the area.�

The Council's request is supported by the findings of the London Health Commission�s (LHC) Health in London report, which highlights Hounslow as one of the worst polluted boroughs in London.

Councillor Cadbury continued: �The London Health Commission report shows that nitrogen dioxide
levels are already being exceeded, and one of their key findings is that there has been little research into the effects of air quality on different communities.

�Hounslow already faces a tremendous negative effect as a result of Terminal Five, as the additional traffic - both during construction and once the airport is operational - will dramatically increase the local pollution levels even before a third runway is considered. However, this has not been taken into account.

The Council have commissioned Professor Stansfield, of Queen Mary's College, who recently gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee on the aviation white paper, to carry out some independent research into the issue. They say it�s imperative that more work is done to assess the true cost of further expansion before any decision is made.�

May 13, 2003

BAA accused of moving the goal posts on air pollution

HACAN ClearSkies