Chiswick Anti Airport Expansion Group Sends 'Heartfelt Plea' To MPs

Appeals to MPs not to support Third Runway as new air pollution review announced

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Chiswick Against the Third Runway(CHATR) has written to all newly elected MPs to express their grave concern at the Conservative manifesto promise to build a Third Runway at Heathrow.

Meanwhile Heathrow Airport has announced that it has appointed a senior academic to head a new expert review into air pollution.

CHATR's letter to MPs asks how the government can lend support to a development that "knowingly" harms public health?

"There is a weight of evidence against the Third Runway showing the adverse effects of noise, pollution and sleep deprivation. It seems utterly bizarre to us that this government has endorsed a scheme that benefits foreign shareholders at the expense of millions of Londoners who will suffer these very serious and well documented health consequences. It is worrying in the extreme that these health disbenefits have not been properly costed in assessing the pros and cons of expansion at Heathrow and worse still, that DfT documentation and the Davies Commission actively suppressed figures that show the true extent of the harm caused by Heathrow expansion.

"Poorer communities nearer the airport and working families under new & existing flight paths, trapped by debt, mortgages, stamp duty costs or other reasons will suffer the most. It seems quite wrong that the inequalities and injustices of airport expansion, which have been repeatedly raised by the affected communities, are being simply brushed aside for an, as yet unproven, marginal economic gain."

The letter says that the election results clearly point to a concern about the airport.

"There is no doubt from the responses in our community that Labour gains in London in the recent election reflect, amongst other things, Londoners’ deep opposition to Heathrow expansion.

Meanwhile, pro expansion groups have welcomed Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's confirmation that Government remains committed to a new Heathrow runway and is confident that it has the votes to approve expansion in Parliament. Back Heathrow’s Parmjit Dhanda said

“Last year the Government confirmed its support for expanding Heathrow and we’re delighted that this remains the case today.

“Polling shows that more than three quarters of MPs in the last Parliament support a new Heathrow runway and the Conservative, Labour, DUP and SNP manifestos all backed Heathrow expansion in their 2017 manifestos

“Heathrow expansion will create 180,000 jobs across the country, 77,000 jobs in the local area and 10,000 apprenticeships. No wonder it has the support of MPs, businesses, trade unions and local residents.”

Speaking at the Policy Forum for London, Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director responsible for delivering expansion, announced that the airport would incentivise its 6,000 direct employees to acquire a low emission car of their choice.

She also announced that Heathrow has invited Imperial College London Professor Helen ApSimon to chair the new Heathrow Air Quality Expert Review group.

"This independent body will provide expert perspectives to ensure a third runway is delivered without compromising the UK’s ability to comply with legal air quality requirements. Prof ApSimon is a renowned authority on air quality, having served on the Airborne Particles Expert Group, the National Expert Group on Transboundary Air pollution, and the Air Quality Expert Group of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Speaking to delegates, Emma Gilthorpe said: “The new mayoral transport strategy sets environmental challenges that we need to meet – and we will. By working in partnership with others, by investing in technological innovation and by being prepared to take the lead sometimes, we can expand Heathrow in the right way. This is not – and must not be – a choice between the economy and the environment.”

She added "New capacity at an expanded Heathrow will not be released unless it can be done without compromising the UK’s ability to comply with legal air quality requirements."

July 1, 2017

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