Heathrow expansion bid suffers air pollution blow

 Government figures released yesterday show that air pollution around Heathrow will still exceed the EU air pollution limits by 2030, even without the addition of a third runway.  The figures, published by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) following a Freedom of Information request by campaign group Clean Air in London, reveal pollution limits on the A4 road running along the north border of Heathrow Airport will be over the legal limits in 2030.

The legal limits were introduced by the European Union in 2010.  They continue to be breeched by member states, including the UK.  However, the EU does expect limits to be met by 2020 or member states will be fined.

Heathrow is the only airport in the UK where the air pollution limits are regularly breeched.  The combination of traffic on the surrounding roads, including the M4 and the M25, and aircraft using the airport, accounts for the problem.  A third runway would increase flight numbers by a quarter of a million each year.

John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN which opposes a new runway, said, “These dramatic figures suggest once again that air pollution could be a show-stopper as far as a third runway in concerned.”

The Airports Commission, which is looking at whether a new runway should be built at Heathrow or Gatwick, will do further work on air pollution before it publishes its final report, expected in June.


 For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650