We welcome the reports in Financial Times that the Airports Commission will launch a technical consultation on the issue of air pollution and airport expansion.
This follows months of campaigning by AEF raising the challenge of adding an additional runway, and the associated emissions from traffic and aircraft, into areas which are already at or close to exceeding legal limits on air quality. In our response to the Airports Commission’s earlier consultation on appraisal options, we called on the body to complete its work on air quality, publish its modelling work, and allow the public sufficient time to scrutinise and respond to the findings.
The Airports Commission’s consultation is available here.
Questions have to be asked about why it took the recent Supreme Court decision and its demand for action from Government to tackle air quality which raised the issue up the political agenda to force the Airports Commission to take the issue seriously, only weeks before it is due to make its final recommendations.
The Financial Times comments that the Airports Commission’s consultations will stoke “fears of further delays to a politically sensitive decision” but AEF has argued that any decision will have to wait until all the evidence has been gathered.
Tim Johnson, AEF Director, commented:
“We hope the announced consultation will be a thorough and in-depth analysis of the challenges faced given the risks posed to public health, and not just a kneejerk reaction to the recent court decision.
Air pollution was a major show-stopper for airport expansion last time around and it could be again in 2015. A quick decision cannot be expected until the new Government has had time to consider this and other notable gaps in the Commission’s analysis.”
AEF briefing: Airport expansion and air pollution
Airports Commission air pollution consultation
For further comment, please call 020 3102 1509.