A new study has claimed that a third runway at Heathrow Airport would triple the number of early deaths due to pollution linked to airport. The reports have been published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge.
The report claims that a third runway would increase the number of early deaths from the current estimate of 50 per year to 150 per year, by the year 2030. Moreover, it has also been predicted that even if the runway is not built, then the number of deaths will increase to 110 per year by 2030. On the other hand, if a new airport is built in the Thames Estuary, then the number of deaths would be cut by up to 70%.
The difference is due to the South-Westerly prevailing winds, which at present blows pollution to the North-East, from Heathrow in towards London. However, pollution from the Thames Estuary will be carried out to sea. The reports by MIT’s ‘Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment’ which has observed pollution emissions from the top 20 UK airports mentioned, “On a nationwide basis, early deaths due to UK airport emissions decrease by a quarter, relative to an un-expanded Heathrow”.
In short, the airport’s capacity would be expanded, and health impacts would be reduced under the Thames Hub scenario.