June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Ross Bentley
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A MEDICAL expert has called for health impact assessments to be carried out before any decision on airport expansion is finalised.
Writing in the respected British Medical Journal, Professor Jangu Banatvala, who is a medical adviser to the Stop Stansted Expansion lobbying group, gave a warning about the health impacts of aviation arising from noise, pollution and climate change.
He wrote; “Unlike Environmental Impact Assessments, Health Impact Assessments are not obligatory, but should be conducted before policy decisions are made on major developments, to ensure that commercial interests are not placed before health.”
Mr Jangu, who is also emeritus professor of clinical virology at Kings College London, School of Medicine and Denistry, said the government’s record on airports is “disappointing” and pointed out that for major London airports only developments at Stansted had HIAs.
However, he wrote: “the assessments were conducted by BAA (British Airports Authority), scarcely a transparent arrangement, because BAA, acting as the regulator and enabler, also had a major obligation to its shareholders.”
The article has been published in the week ownership of Stansted Airport is due to pass from BAA to Manchester Airports Group for a reported £1.5bn.
Currently, there are no plans to expand Stansted, which has seen the number of passengers using the airport fall to around 17 milion per annum. The airport has capacity to take 35 milion passengers.
A Stansted Airport spokesman said:“The Government will shortly be publishing the aviation policy framework which will set the parameters within which the aviation industry will be able to balance the benefits of flying against local environmental impacts.”