MPs rally against Heathrow expansion

June 10 2015  

MPs rally against Heathrow expansion
Expansion of Heathrow would be the “death knell” of efforts to reduce air pollution in the capital, London Mayoral hopeful and Labour MP Dianne Abbott said yesterday.
Ms Abbott told a debate in Westminster Hall that there is “no question” that aviation is a major cause of pollution and that London’s air “is filthier than any other European capital”.
She went on to say that road traffic is responsible for up to 70% of all air pollution, which she described as “the silent killer that is stalking London’s streets”.
Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith told the debate: “If we are serious about air quality the Government must rule out expansion of Heathrow which is already in breach of legally binding air quality limits.”
He added that next year is the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act and that air pollution “is very much back as a significant public health issue.
“More than a million Londoners today live in areas that exceed legal limits of NO2 and that ought to be enough to highlight how important an issue this is,” he added. “As London expands and its population is expected to hit 10M by 2030 the problem will inevitably grow. Tackling it will require the same level of energy that stopped the 1950s smog.”
Yesterday also saw London Assembly Green party leader Darren Johnson comment: “The last thing we need is an expanded Heathrow leading to more premature deaths, health problems and threats of European fines for legal breach of the air pollution rules.”
A spokesman for the Back Heathrow campaign said the vast majority of pollution around Heathrow comes from road traffic which is not using the airport.
“Nonetheless, it is vital that Heathrow plays its role in improving air quality and with new rail links via Crossrail, and from the west many more people will be able to choose public transport to Heathrow than can today,” he said. The group claims that over the past five years emissions at Heathrow have fallen by 16%.
(Photo: Alvey & Towers)

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