A DAMNING report on air quality published on behalf of a Heathrow protest group has claimed pollution is so bad a third runway can never be built.
Emissions: Impossible, published on Thursday, claims thousands of people living around Heathrow Airport are already exposed to unhealthily high levels of air pollution.
The report says that EU limits for the poisonous gas nitrogen dioxide, are being exceeded and the level will never fall to the permitted 40 microgrammes per metre cubed.
The Government’s White Paper on Aviation says a third runway can only be built if the limits are met.
The report also claims that 5,000 people living near the airport, including in Harmondsworth, Sipson, Longford and Harlington, are being exposed to dangerous levels of the gas and this number would double if a third runway was built.
The report has been prepared by Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), an organisation which has worked for the Government and the European Commission.
AEF uses data from airport operators BAA, the Government, Transport for London, and foreign researchers.
Geraldine Nicholson, of Little Benty, West Drayton, chairwoman of the No Third Runway Action Group (NoTRAG) said: “The Government can’t possibly go ahead with the third runway now. The limit will never be met. I’m pleased that this report has come out now, hopefully someone will take notice.
“You need a gas mask on some days, you can feel the air getting very heavy.
“I know if you talk to people with asthma they will tell you about the serious problems they have with pollution.”
Chairman of Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association Bryan Sobey, of Sipson Road, Sipson, who would lose his home if a third runway was built, said: “We are either being poisoned or we are being evicted from our homes – it’s Hobson’s choice.
“We want to stop the runway being built, that’s our principal function. Then after that if pollution is above the reasonable level it’s got to come down.”
Roy Mapplebeck, headteacher of Harmondsworth Primary school, School Road, Harmondsworth, said several teachers at the school had developed breathing difficulties such as asthma.
Emissions: Impossible was commissioned by Project Heathrow Watch, a group of MPs and anti-airport expansion campaigners.
The group is chaired by Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell (Lab) and members include MP for Uxbridge John Randall (Con), and representatives of NoTRAG and HACAN ClearSkies.
A BAA Spokesperson said: “The Government has commissioned research on these environmental standards and a report is expected in the summer.
“It’s not sensible for the AEF to prejudge these findings before they are published later this year.”