Letter: A Third Runway Will "Cause Early Deaths"

Dear Editor,

The Airports Commission has just released a shortlist of options to increase airport capacity, disappointingly including adding a third runway at Heathrow.

A study funded by US university MIT suggested that air pollution from Heathrow causes about 50 early deaths a year, and that the figure may climb to 150 if a third runway is built.

And before any expansion option is even considered, over 725,000 people are already affected by noise from Heathrow.

The British Medical Journal recently addressed the health impacts of aircraft noise. It found the risks of stroke, heart and circulatory disease were higher in areas with a lot of such noise. The study of 3.6 million residents near Heathrow Airport suggested the risks were 10-20% higher in areas with the highest levels of aircraft noise.

Conservative Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the BBC: "We will not be building a third runway in this Parliament.” (emphasis added), which makes me wonder what they plan for the future.

And given his comments to newspapers in 2012 that the case for expansion at Heathrow should be “re-examined”; can Wimbledon’s Conservative MP Stephen Hammond confirm what his position on this actually is?

Anthony Fairclough
Dundonald Liberal Democrats

126 Merton Hall Road
SW19 3PZ

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December 19, 2013