Ministers Told "Put Health Before Wealth" At Heathrow

As Councils warn again that a third runway will make air quality worse

Local authority leaders, including the Leader of Wandsworth Council, who are opposed to Heathrow expansion say that it would be reckless for ministers to go ahead with plans for a third runway following publication of a new parliamentary report calling for a step change in government policy on air quality.

The joint report published today (March 18th) by four parliamentary select committees says that the current legislative framework is not doing enough to protect public health from the consequences of poor air quality. It calls for a new regulatory body and a commitment to new standards which are at least as high as equivalent standards in the EU.

The report says successive governments have been slow to take action on air pollution even when confronted with legal proceedings at EU and UK level.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, says, “As local authorities we have a primary duty to protect the health of our residents. We have told ministers repeatedly that a third runway is undeliverable on air quality grounds.

“It would be reckless for ministers to blindly press ahead with expansion when the evidence plainly shows it will make air quality worse. They should be tackling the ill health consequences of poor air quality by introducing tougher post EU standards. If ministers continue to back expansion in the light of this report they will be gambling with people's health.

“We don't expect Heathrow's shareholders to put the health consequences of expansion first - we do expect this from our elected representatives.”

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of neighbouring Richmond Council, says, “Heathrow Airport already exceeds legal air quality limits. Expansion will further pollute the environment and damage the health of a huge number of West London residents.

“I say to Heathrow – tackle current air quality limits rather than steam roll ahead with a proposal that will only make matters worse. When making the final decision later this year, I hope that MPs put the health of our residents ahead of the wealth of Heathrow owners.”

The full report is published here

Have your say on the consultation here:

March 16th 2018