London Together Against a Third Runway

A joint statement has been issued by those opposed to expansion at Heathrow .


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A copy of the letter

The Government's consultation on the Future Development of Air Transport in the UK put forward a number of options for airport development. The South East document included a suggestion to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport.

There is vast opposition to this proposal and it is clear that a third runway would have serious environmental and quality of life implications for residents in London and particularly those who live under the flight paths. We are not convinced that a third runway is in line with the Government's policy on sustainable development.

A third runway at Heathrow would only be able to handle a fraction of the expected increase in demand for air travel and it is clear that a sixth terminal would need to be built to make this proposal a viable option. A third runway would be a short term solution that would inevitably lead to yet further expansion of the airport in a part of West London that is already congested.

Aircraft noise levels in London are already unacceptable and it is estimated that over 100,000 more people in the London area will be adversely affected by noise from aircraft if a third runway at Heathrow is developed. Furthermore, news areas in parts of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Chiswick, and Ealing will be affected by flight paths.

Heathrow Airport is already a pollution hot spot. Nitrogen dioxide levels currently exceed the limits set out by the European Union and it is unclear how these limits will be met by 2010 even without the construction of a third runway.

The consultation document indicated that another runway at Heathrow could not be considered unless the Government could be confident that levels of all relevant pollutants could be consistently contained within EU limits. The Government must remain committed to this statement and be able to demonstrate how it plans to reduce current levels of air pollution.

The local impacts on the environment, air quality, noise levels, roads, public transport, schools and residents do not make this proposal a viable option.

Following a lengthy and detailed inquiry, the Terminal Five Inspector, Roy Vandermeer QC stated in his report to the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions:

' the evidence placed before me demonstrates that a third main runway at Heathrow would have such severe and widespread impacts on the environment as to be totally unacceptable.' (Para 98)

The Inspector's recommendations should be rigorously upheld and the Government should reject the option to construct a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

3rd December 2003