Air quality concerns raised by anti-Stansted expansion campaigners

PUBLISHED: 10:48 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:48 17 December 2019

Stop Stansted Expansion campaigners have raised more concerns following a new air pollution study  Picture: TONY PICK

Stop Stansted Expansion campaigners have raised more concerns following a new air pollution study Picture: TONY PICK

Tony Pick

Campaigners trying to halt plans to expand Stansted airport have raised concerns about air quality following a new health study.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) cites new research published in the British Medical Journal on November 30 suggesting airborne emissions of fine carbon particles - known as PM2.5 - can have health impacts even where there are at a concentration below the World Health Organisation's guideline limits.

SSE argues that the additional road traffic and flights generated from airport expansion would add to air pollution.

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But a Stansted spokesman said the airport had already published "significant and detailed" models, assessments and evidence on a wide range of environmental topics, showing that the growth plans are in line with government policy on air quality.

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"This detailed work by independent air quality and health experts shows our proposals do not conflict with national planning policy or government's health-based air quality objectives in any way," he said.

"These results have been considered by the council's own experts who have raised no objection. We will continue to monitor and publicly report air quality, as well as noise and other environmental impacts as part of our ongoing drive to continually improve our environmental performance."

SSE health adviser Professor Jangu Banatvala claimed Stansted's own figures showed the plans would increase carbon particles in the air by 25%, taking it to an annual total of 13.6 tonnes of PM2.5.

"That's 25% more than today, which is wholly unacceptable when this new research removes all doubt as to the connection between airborne pollution from fine carbon particles and severe health impacts upon the local population," said the professor.

"In view of this new research it is inconceivable that our local council could permit any further airport expansion until such time as this can be achieved without increasing the risks to the health of the local population."

Stansted wants to raise its current cap on passenger numbers from 35m to 43m people a year.

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