21 February 2008

Blow dealt to Heathrow expansion

The prospect of the go-ahead of a third runway at Heathrow Airport was always going to be slim. First, the soon-to-open Terminal 5 has been criticised by local residents, environmental groups and the RSPB (to name one of a whole host of wildlife groups); second, the recent near-miss crash landing and the potential for carnage at Heathrow - specifically its perimeter - were almost brought to reality; and now third, Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has protested against the possible expansion of Heathrow.

Ken's main objection in the expansion of Heathrow or indeed any airport in the London or south-east is the effect the additional emissions would have on the atmosphere and the potential this could have for "catastrophic climate change". The Mayor made the speach while addressing the residents of Sipson in Hillingdon - a village that would be dessimated should the plan for a third runway be approved.

In June 2003 the Mayor reaffirmed his opposition to the proposals to expand Heathrow in his response to the government's consultation 'Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport'. The current public consultation closes on 27 February. The government's own figures show that aviation pollutes between two-to-three times more than an equivalent journey made by rail.

The map below shows a red shaded area to the north of Heathrow Airport that would be the affected area should a third runway be approved.