Letter: No new runway is the answer

Concerns over Gatwick expansion

The revised proposals for Heathrow expansion reveal just how much damage this reckless project will do.

Heathrow is already having a more detrimental impact on the air we breathe than we realised, with an estimated 86 per cent of the toxic air in the region linked to the airport (up from the Government’s previous estimate of 70 per cent). And the new consultation makes clear the impact of a third runway will also be more toxic than first thought.

On the basis of its own analysis, the Government must rule out Heathrow expansion. But before the Gatwick’s PR machine leaps into action, it’s worth pointing out that we simply can’t expand any airports.

Aviation is a top ten global polluter and emissions are set to balloon by 300 per cent if action isn’t taken sooner rather than later. In the UK, aviation CO2 emissions are expected to use up more than two-thirds of the UK’s carbon budget by 2050. At the same time, the Tories’ so-called ‘Clean’ Growth Strategy has admitted we are already on course to bust these legally-binding targets by 2028 - and that’s without any expansion.

By pursuing airport expansion, Ministers are displaying a shocking disregard for the UK’s legal and moral obligation to tackle a genuine air quality crisis and making a mockery of their stated commitment to being ‘world-leaders’ in the fight against climate change.

No new runways is the only answer.

Keith Taylor

Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, European Parliament, ASP-4F136, 60 Rue Wiertz, B-1047, Brussels, Belgium

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