Two public bodies have recently associated expansion at Heathrow with damage to the health of residents. First you quote the head of the Environment Agency as saying that a third runway at Heathrow would be 'very detrimental' to the health of west Londoners (Chronicle, October 9).
And then a further report indicates that NHS Hounslow may feel the need to sue BAA if airport expansion goes ahead, because the trust would be treating more patients whose health had been harmed by noise and pollution (Chronicle, October 23).
This is important. There are other reasons to oppose expansion at Heathrow: climate change will be worse for increased flights, and the quality of local residents' lives will be diminished by the noise of planes overhead. But only now are we seeing clearly that the health of thousands of local people is at stake too.
Government has a duty to do everything it can to safeguard public health. We would be angry if the state did not ensure that sewers were maintained, or failed to legislate to prevent factories pouring out toxic waste. The same issues are raised by airport expansion.
The Government is currently considering decisions on expansion - not just the third runway but the increased use of the existing runways - and must take into account the health aspects of any new development at Heathrow. We would be rightly angry if they made a decision putting the profitability of aviation companies ahead of public health in west London.
JOHN FERRIS Biscoe Close, Heston.