Pace moves up a notch on the Heathrow front
It’s been a lively few weeks on the Heathrow front with a number of speeches, campaign statements, council decisions, legal challenges, and research publications.
In the run-up to its recommendations at the end of the year we can no doubt expect a flurry of claim followed by counter-claim as everybody seeks to influence the work of the Davies Commission. The last few weeks have been no exception.
Here’s a round-up of what’s going on.
While chairman of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies, said that it is inevitable that more runway capacity will be needed in the South East, Ed Miliband has warned Davies that he had grave doubts about extra runways at Heathrow.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead voted to continue opposition to more runways at Heathrow while Eastbourne council has given its backing to a second runway at Gatwick.
Gatwick airport told the Airports Commission that it will be able to minimise noise impact of a second runway and it will have less impact than Heathrow but the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign said there is no room for a second runway.
CPRE Oxfordshire, meanwhile, told the Airports Commission proposals for a new London airport in countryside near Abingdon are “not creditable” and “a non-starter” and Stop Stansted Expansion is launching a high court challenge against the criteria the Airports Commission is using to sift options of aviation capacity.
While all that’s been going on, researchers have shown that rates of strokes and heart disease increase with people’s proximity to Heathrow. Those living in the noisiest, 63-decibel-plus areas were 24% more likely than people living in areas with lower noise levels to be hospitalised because of stroke and 14% more likely to be hospitalised because of cardiovascular disease.
An American study found that elderly people exposed to long term aircraft noise also suffered increased cardiovascular disease. The Independent has suggested the findings could halt expansion of the UK’s airports.
New runways needed to serve London’s air passengers says head of government commission