Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Risks to Londoners from Heathrow already unacceptable

From Mr Gordon Glass.

Sir, It is timely to remind our government why all the political parties opposed a third Heathrow runway at the last general election. It would generate entirely new take-off and landing flight paths over London. Why? Solely to serve as a short-haul runway feeding passengers into even larger long-haul aircraft on the existing flight paths, with all the consequent increase in noise, pollution and crash risk.

Even BAA itself argued against a third runway at the Terminal 5 inquiry. In his report in 2000, the inspector noted “BAA’s request that the secretary of state should rule out the prospect of an additional runway” and said: “I agree with BAA that 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.”

Even without the third runway, the inspector said, poignantly: “Terminal 5 would increase the risk of a major air crash, involving many casualties on the ground, which would raise questions about the future role of Heathrow.”

Quite alarmingly, as the opposing local authorities could not afford the continuing high cost of the longest planning inquiry ever, it fell to me, as an unpaid individual professional, to be the sole body left challenging the development on the crash risks over London. I now run a not-for-profit company to “educate” public organisations on the risks to the wider public from transport. It is not public knowledge but, believe me, the risks to Londoners from Heathrow are already totally unacceptable ... and rising continuously.

Gordon Glass, Bath, Somerset, UK 

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