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Air pollution protestors stage lie-in at Heathrow

Around 50 anti-air pollution campaigners donned masks and lay down on the floor inside Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday (May 12) in protest at constructing a third runway at the airport

Around 50 anti-air pollution campaigners donned masks and lay down on the floor inside Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday (May 12) in protest at constructing a third runway at the airport.

Protestors in Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday May 10 (photo: HACAN)

Protestors in Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday May 10 (photo: HACAN)

The silent protest say supporters of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Airport Noise (HACAN) wear green t-shirts carrying the slogan ‘Dying for clean air’ while lying down on amid travellers at the busy terminal to highlight the health effects and fatalities caused by air pollution.

Protestors included local people and activists who claim that adding another runway at Heathrow will adversely impact on noise and air quality around the West London airport.

According to HACAN, Heathrow is the only UK airport in an area which currently breaches EU limits for nitrogen dioxide, while adding a second runway at Gatwick will not lead to a breach of EU air pollution limits.

One of the HACAN campaigners, local resident Neil Keveren, said: “Right now air pollution badly affects our communities. In a number of our areas pollution levels are above the legal limits set down by the EU. Heathrow Airport claims things are getting better. But it simply cannot guarantee that, with a third runway and an extra quarter of a million planes a year, air pollution levels will come down so they meet the EU legal limits. It is just wishful thinking.”

Heathrow

The protest followed Friday’s (May 8) launch of a three-week public consultation into the air quality impacts of three schemes mooted for UK airport capacity expansion by the Airports Commission (see AirQualityNews.com story).

The consultation was published alongside assessments of possible air quality impacts of each of the three proposals carried out by consultants Jacobs, which showed that any expansion of Heathrow would not affect the UK’s current compliance issues with EU air pollution limits.

Protestors in Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday May 10 (photo: HACAN)

Protestors in Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday May 10 (photo: HACAN)

However, Jacobs’ assessments suggest that an unmitigated increase of capacity at Gatwick would have a lower impact on air quality – both in terms of pollutant concentrations and economic cost – than either of the Heathrow schemes (see AirQualityNews.com story).

A spokeswoman for Heathrow reiterated that any expansion of Heathrow will only go ahead if it meets strict environmental limits on air quality.

Commenting on the launch of the consultation, John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, said: “This evidence from the Airports Commission is great news for Heathrow expansion. It shows that our plan, which has been produced with local community views at its core, can be delivered without exceeding air quality limits.

“Expanding Heathrow will deliver what the nation needs and what politicians want – an opportunity to win the race for jobs and growth by connecting the entire country to the world’s fastest growing destinations.  It’s the only decision that will create up to 180,000 new jobs and £211bn of economic growth, shared across Britain.”

Related Links:

HACAN
Heathrow Airport

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