Primary School being relocated in pollution hotspot to make way for polluting 3rd Runway


For immediate use

Primary School being relocated in pollution hotspot to make way for polluting 3rd Runway

A primary school will be relocated in a heavily polluted area to make way for Heathrow’s 3rd runway, with potential learning impacts for children likely.

The revelation was found buried in Heathrow Airport’s “Preferred Masterplan” which it launched for consultation on Tuesday (1).

Harmondsworth Primary School would be knocked down and moved from its current location on the edge of Harmondsworth village surrounded by fields and farmland, to a busy site on the Stockley by-pass, on Stockley Road in West Drayton (1). The site would be close to air pollution monitors that frequently break legal limits (2). The plan also places the school outside of its own catchment area and into another school’s catchment area. The current plan also leaves other primary schools such as Cherry Lane Primary, Heathrow Primary, and William Byrd Primary all just metres from the new runway.

Research has found that children exposed to aircraft noise in learning environments is significantly related to mathematical performance. “As noise increases by contour band, performance drops by 0.73 of a mark”, according to researchers.

The work goes on to say that “high levels of aircraft noise may impact on everyday activities such as homework, school- work and playing” (3/4).

Other sites identified in the consultation include a new Immigration Detention Centre in the village of Bedfont at a site not considered at the previous stage of consultation and on green belt land (5), rediverted natural waterways (6), supersize car parks (7).

Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said:

“What a farce! How can it be allowed for a primary school to be relocated in an area with already high exposure to toxic emissions to make way for 260,000 more flights, emitting more emissions in its former location?

“We already know that emissions from Heathrow-related traffic and planes have an impact on children’s learning and exam performance. Yet the airport seem quite content in doing so. Children deserve better.

“This is just one of many, many elements of this consultation which we ensure the plan can never be carried out.”

Geraldine Nicholson, Stop Heathrow Expansion campaigner who also works in a local school, said: “Considering one in three children inhale toxic air in the UK is this government prepared do this to our children in all of these schools. The planes will be literally a few metres above the playground.”


Stop Heathrow Expansion available for interview throughout this week.



  1. Heathrow Airport – Preferred Masterplan page 159

  2. Heathrow local air pollution monitor sites and data

  3. Impact of Heathrow Expansion on children’s performance in and out of school. Compilation of evidence by the No 3rd Runway Coalition.

  4. D. Pilay, K. Archary, S. Panday, ‘A preliminary study of the effects of aircraft noise on families who reside in close proximity to an airport’, Family Practitioner (2011) 53:4.

  5. Heathrow Preferred Masterplan, Page 158.

  6. Page 153.

  7. Page 157.