Heathrow decision puts UK in breach of EU air quality guidelines

15 January 2009

The Green Party said this evening that the decision to allow Heathrow to build a third runway was indefensible and
immediately put Britain in breach of European air quality guidelines.

Green Party leader Dr Caroline Lucas MEP said the announcement was "irresponsible, deceptive and environmentally disastrous."

Dr Lucas said: "This decision demonstrates a complete contempt for the environment, for the health of UK citizens and for our democratic processes.

"A third runway will have disastrous consequences for residents in my South East constituency - leading to serious environmental damage and social upheaval through increased pollution, and the destruction of local communities."

Dr Lucas warned that the Transport Secretary's proposals for Heathrow would condemn the UK to an unsustainable future of significantly higher noise and air pollution - and to accelerating climate change. "Any government which, on the one hand pledges to make a significant reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, and on the other gives the green light to the greatest expansion of aviation in a generation, is guilty of either the most shameless hypocrisy, or the most unforgivable ignorance and stupidity," she said.

The MEP and long-standing campaigner against the expansion of the aviation industry added, "Despite the promises which were made to limit further expansion, this Government has persisted in a deceptive campaign for a third runway
which its own figures estimate will almost double the number of flights using Heathrow each year.

"Whichever way you look at the Government's proposals on aviation, they are a social and environmental disaster. What we need is a sustainable transport policy which incentivises train travel, makes aviation pay its true costs and restricts airport capacity."

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