Government should commission an independent study into the health effects of Heathrow
HACAN ClearSkies, which represents residents under the flight path to Heathrow, has called on the Government to commission an independent study into the health effects of Heathrow. The call follows three months of inaction since the national pressure group, Transport 2000, published its report highlighting the high levels of cancer around Chicago-Midway airport in America (1).
John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, “The Government hasn’t a clue what the cancer risks are like around Heathrow. It has never carried out a study. This is the height of irresponsibility, particularly as it is about to make a decision on Heathrow Terminal Five. In the three months since Transport 2000 published its report highlighting the high levels of cancer around Chicago-Midway Airport, there has been a deafening silence from Government. It should commission an independent study immediately”.
HACAN ClearSkies spokesman Mike Riley, said, “The study co-ordinated by Spelthorne Council into the pollution levels in the four local authority areas nearest the airport showed that, after Central London, Heathrow is the most polluted area in the South East (2). But Spelthorne acknowledge that there needs to be a follow-up study to estimate how much of this pollution comes from aircraft. We need a Government study”.
Mike Riley added, “I am particularly concerned that David Wilshire, the MP for Spelthorne is not doing enough to put pressure on the Government to carry out an independent study. We would expect any decent MP to take it up in Parliament. But it appears Mr Wilshire turns a deaf ear to anything that could get in the way of his strong support for Terminal Five.”
Notes for Editors
The Plane Truth: Aviation and the Environment, written by Professor John Whitelegg, was published by Transport 2000, and the Ashden Trust in January of this year. It highlighted research carried out by the US Environment Protection Agency which showed a “heightened incidence” of cancer in the vicinity of the Chicago-Midway Airport. It estimated that emissions from aircraft were responsible for 10.5% of cancers caused by air pollution in the Midway area. Heathrow is substantially larger than Midway; it is used by five times as many passengers and has 50% more landings and take-offs. There have also been studies at Chicago-O’Hare Airport and in Seattle which would appear to confirm the findings at Chicago-Midway Airport.
The in-depth study, co-ordinated by Spelthorne, looked at pollution levels in Spelthorne, Hounslow, Hillingdon and Richmond. It found that, as pollution is cut across most of London (because cars are getting cleaner), Heathrow will remain polluted.
For further information contact:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or Mike Riley on 07775 838756.