Heathrow Consultation Divisive and Misleading

Friends of the Earth believes questionnaire is impossible for public to answer

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West London Friends of the Earth has branded the consultation on Heathrow expansion as "divisive and misleading".

The consultation paper on a third runway and 'Mixed Mode' has been delivered to hundreds of thousands of households in the areas around Heathrow.

Nic Ferriday, spokesperson for West London Friends of the Earth, said "There are some 34 specific questions about a third runway and mixed mode. But none actually ask people if they support a third runway or the removal of mixed mode. Instead there are detailed questions that pre-suppose expansion.

"The questions ask for personal information and ask about specific impacts on households which will vary from one location to another. The answers can therefore be used to divide communities and to suggest there is no widespread opposition to expansion."

West London Friends of the Earth believes the consultation is misleading and deficient in vital aspects - economics, noise, air pollution and climate change.

Nic Ferriday commented, "The justification for expansion of Heathrow is claimed benefits to the economy. The consultation asserts economic benefits but provides no evidence and does not invite any responses to its assertions."

"The government recently published the ANASE study on noise and annoyance. This showed that noise levels of much less than 57 decibels (dB) cause annoyance, but the government says it will continue with 57dB in assessing the impact of Heathrow expansion."

"The government asks whether a third runway can be added within air pollution limits. This is impossible for ordinary people to answer because the air pollution estimates were carried in secret by the government and BAA. There are no independent reviews and it is impossible for ordinary citizens to judge whether the extremely complex calculations are valid."

"A third runway would increase emissions of carbon dioxide from Heathrow aircraft by some 8.8 million tonnes pa by 2030 and 10.8 million by 2050. Such increases will make it impossible to achieve the 60% cuts by 2050 that the government recognises as necessary in its climate bill. This government consultation ignores the climate imperative."

November 27, 2007