Mathias challenges PM on air quality
Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham challenged Theresa May on the Heathrow area's air quality during Prime Minister's Question today.
In the only opportunity MPs were given to raise a question on government's decision to approve a third runway, Tania Mathias pointed out that the air quality limits around Heathrow already breach legal air quality limits.
She asked, "Can the Prime Minister explain how a third runway can be delivered and comply with pollution legal requirements? Does she agree that environmentally Heathrow is not good enough and cannot possibly be both bigger and better?
Prime Minister Theresa May responded "The government looked very closely at this issue of air quality and environmental impacts of all three schemes that were proposed by the Airports Commission. We took extra time because we wanted to look more particularly at the air quality issues. The evidence shows that air quality standards can be met, as required, by all three scheme including the North West runway at Heathrow.
"The issue about air quality is about more than airports because the question of air quality is also about road transport and that's why we are looking to do more in relation to what we're doing for air quality. It's why for example I'm pleased to see that we are at the leading edge in the provision of electric vehicles."
While Theresa May talks about air quality, people around Heathrow continue to inhale dangerous levels of pollution. It is known that this pollution shortens lives. We all know that road traffic is a significant problem but Heathrow is generating it.
Purple Parking, that has purple mini buses and trailers driving around the airport and West London to its parking areas in Southall. BBC's Carl Mercer visited one of these in Southall where 18,000 cars were being parked for Heathrow passengers. Purple Parking's Simon Van Os told Carl that the company had two sites at Bath Road and Brent Road and that a third runway would enable him to expand. The company, he said, already employed 600 staff. (Film showed a large call centre not the highly-skilled jobs that Heathrow has promised.)
Incidentally the film also showed an 18-acre golf course near Stockley Park that would be a green space lost to Heathrow expansion. Golfer Duncan McFarlane was sceptical about the runway being deliverable but, if it happened, he could not see the golf course being spared. He looked around at the green oasis near an Industrial park and said it would be "gutting".
Air quality cannot be improved while permission is given for large parking areas. Heathrow lies when it tells the public that it will cut car use to Heathrow. It will push larger parking areas to the outskirts away from the pollution monitors but passengers will then be taken to the airport in buses, adding to traffic. Parking makes money because parking charges are high while jobs have low skill requirements and low pay.