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Hounslow Council has welcomed the publication of a report demanding the banning of a third runway at Heathrow Airport to comply with EU air quality standards.

The Environmental Audit Committee’s report on air quality in the UK published on Monday (14 November) states that if a third runway was developed at Heathrow, compliance with EU air quality (nitrogen

dioxide) limits would be ‘impossible’.It also states that the lives of thousands of people are being cut short every year because of unnecessary pollution and that 4,000 deaths in London alone were linked to air pollution in 2008.

In order to comply with EU air quality limits throughout Greater London past 2015, the Government must add an ‘explicit prohibition of a third runway at Heathrow’ in upcoming documents that will shape the future of UK aviation policy, notably the forthcoming Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation and the forthcoming Aviation National Policy Statement, says the report.

Cllr Corinna Smart, Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for environment said: “Hounslow is the borough in the UK most directly affected by the adverse affects of Heathrow Airport, and the subsequent poor air quality affects the health of the community whilst also damaging our economy.

“Currently EU air quality limits are not met at Heathrow and the surrounding area, including within our borough. The Environmental Audit Committee’s report explicitly states that standards will be impossible to meet in the future if the Government don’t make clear their intention to never, ever expand Heathrow Airport.

“The new Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening has a real chance to reduce pollution levels for Hounslow residents protecting the health and well being of those most adversely affected by the airport. The Government’s forthcoming aviation policy should make sure that only the cleanest aircraft can use Heathrow; public transport access to Heathrow particularly for those using the Piccadilly line must be improved; and of course by prohibiting the expansion of Heathrow in terms of either a third runway or any more flights above the 480,000 cap, in line with current Government policy.”

November 15, 2011