Is the expansion of Heathrow illegal?

West London Friends of the Earth believe it is

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Representatives from West London's Friends of the Earth attended the launch of a new report at the House of Commons on 9th March 2006.

Also in attendance were local MPs John McDonnell, Alan Keen and Susan Kramer.

The report, entitled 'Emissions Impossible - an assessment of the noise and air pollution problems at Heathrow and the measures to tackle them, was written by the Aviation Environment Federation.

The report was commissioned by a group of MPs who are concerned that the government is trying to push ahead with a third runway despite high levels of air pollution around Heathrow.

This group consists of a number of local MPs, led by John McDonnell, who call themselves Heathrow Airport Watch. Their particular aim is to watch closely the government studies into air pollution and noise at Heathrow which aim to demonstrate that a third runway (and/or 'mixed mode') is acceptable.

The report concludes that the measures being suggested by the government to reduce air pollution are unlikely to bring air pollution within legal limits and that expansion of Heathrow could bring legal action from the EU.

The report also contains a startling new legal opinion that Heathrow may already be illegal because of the air pollution it generates.

Nic Ferriday, aviation campaigner for West London Friends of the Earth, said "The report confirms what we already knew - that a third runway is probably illegal. But the news that even the present two-runway airport is illegal was a bombshell. The trouble is that this government is not necessarily interested in the niceties of the law or even the health of its citizens."

He went on to say " Residents around Heathrow are therefore reliant on the EU to protect their health and their lives."


March 16, 2006