Fu­elling the de­bate on Heathrow

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

I READ with in­creas­ing dis­be­lief the let­ter from W. Pierce under the head­ing “When Heathrow had six run­ways” (Gazette (16/11). It con­tains so many er­rors and mis­con­cep­tions that it can­not pos­si­bly be al­lowed to stand un­chal­lenged. Con­sider the fol­low­ing un­de­ni­able facts:

a) He claims that the air­port came into be­ing in the 1930s. It did not, con­struc­tion of the present-day air­port be­gan in May 1944.

b) He claims that the air­port once had six run­ways. This is pure fan­tasy.

c) He claims that be­fore the air­port the vil­lages around the air­port hardly ex­isted and that 80% of the present build­ings in the vil­lages have been built since the open­ing of the air­port. This is com­plete non­sense as in fact all of the Heathrow vil­lages had ex­isted for many hun­dreds of years be­fore the air­port. In the 1940s they each had a church, school, pubs, shops and the other in­fra­struc­ture that makes up a thriv­ing com­mu­nity.

d) He seems to be­lieve that avi­a­tion fuel (kerosene) is “cleaner” than the petrol and diesel used by road traf­fic. In fact all three are hy­dro­car­bons and at least 95% the emis­sions from traf­fic and air­craft con­sist of car­bon diox­ide and wa­ter.

e) The ox­i­da­tion of fu­els within an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine is not 100% ef­fi­cient and small amounts of the hy­dro­car­bons are con­verted to toxic com­pounds which are harm­ful to health. En­gine emis­sions con­tain ni­tro­gen ox­ide – ni­tro­gen diox­ide is highly toxic and the area around Heathrow ex­ceeds the le­gal lim­its im­posed to pro­tect hu­man health.

f) Ex­pan­sion of Heathrow would only make a bad sit­u­a­tion with re­gard to car­bon diox­ide and ni­tro­gen diox­ide emis­sions worse and this is the rea­son why the gov­ern­ment is be­ing chal­lenged in the High Court. It is not a band­wagon as W. Pierce sug­gests – it is he who is mis­guided and who does not un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion PHILIP SHER­WOOD Vic­to­ria Lane Har­ling­ton

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