Sunday, May 17, 2009

London City Airport - Increased Pollution in Crash Zone

London City Airport claims in it's own Masterplan that: "The future expansion in aircraft movements, combined with the changes in aircraft and their engines, will increase NOx emissions mainly at the runway and Public Safety Zones [crash zone] away from residential areas"....

Is that why the only residential properties that would be covered by the crash zone which are in Greenwich were not initially consulted (and in fact we don't even know if they have been yet)?

What is even more curious, is that London City Airport were more than well aware of the Gallions Reach Urban Village developments in LB Greenwich, and how much the expansion would enlarge the crash zone over the area. So why do they claim that this increase in harmful NOx emissions would be away from residential areas? They knew that the crash zone would be covering 100s of properties in the area, and 1000s of residents.

So what, you may think? Well NOx is dangerous to humans - it can make you very ill, and in fact can worsen asthma, respiratory diseases and even kill you:

'NOx react with ammonia, moisture, and other compounds to form nitric acid vapor and related particles. Small particles can penetrate deeply into sensitive lung tissue and damage it, causing premature death in extreme cases. Inhalation of such particles may cause or worsen respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis it may also aggravate existing heart disease.

NOx react with volatile organic compounds in the presence of heat and sunlight to form Ozone. Ozone can cause adverse effects such as damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function mostly in susceptible populations (children, elderly, asthmatics). Ozone can be transported by wind currents and cause health impacts far from the original sources. Millions of Americans live in areas that do not meet the health standards for ozone.

NOx also readily react with common organic chemicals, and even ozone, to form a wide variety of toxic products: nitroarenes, nitrosamines and also the nitrate radical some of which may cause biological mutations.'

So that's all very healthy for the residents in the crash zone in Gallions Reach Urban Village, West Thamesmead, Greenwich then!

So how much do the effects of NOx cost to the National Health System? Well according to Newham PCT health impact study they didn't seem to think there were any bad effects at all, or at the most, they were minimal. Is death minimal? Strange that, because as part of the NHS you would have thought they would have considered the health impact of the expansion of flights, and the cost of the impact on health to the NHS. Not only was the report weak, it failed to mention that Newham had the highest levels of mortality in under 30s in the UK from asthma (and Newham are even working with AsthmaUK on this issue right now, so you can't say they forgot) and failed to flag up any connections between pollution and respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, deaths in London due to air pollution, and the effect of excessive noise on the development on children. As for NOx directly related illnesses, it seems they've forgotten to address those!

Curious indeed! You may be interested to know that Richard Gooding CEO of London City Airport is on the board of the Newham University Hospital Trust(however his photo and reference to him has mysteriously disappeared - we'll be asking the Trust to confirm if he is still a member of the board). He's certainly listed as a stakeholder, as is his friend and fanzine editor Colin Grainger from the biased reporting Newham Recorder. No conflict of interest there then!