Airport expansion to increase air pollution

The government’s approval of the £344 million plan to expand London City Airport has been criticised by campaigners arguing that it will add to the city’s air pollution.

The expansion, announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, will include an extended terminal, new aircraft taxiway and parking spaces for planes.

London City Airport also estimates that the scheme will create 1,600 airport jobs for staff, together with 500 construction jobs, and could potentially contribute £1.5 billion to the UK economy by 2025.

However, campaign groups have rallied in asking for consistency from new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who, after vowing to be the ‘greenest mayor London has ever had’ and claimed tackling air pollution was a top priority for his tenure, withdrew the previous Mayor’s opposition to the City Airport expansion plans.

Sophie Neuburg, Friends of the Earth London campaigner, said: “This is terrible news for communities in East London which are already badly-hit by air pollution, noise and congestion.

“The government has been ordered by the Supreme Court to clean up London’s illegally-polluted air as fast as possible, but instead it is taking a step which will make air quality worse.

“It’s disappointing that Sadiq Khan, who has said air pollution must be a top priority, removed a key obstacle to expansion. He must now stand up for Londoners’ lungs, be consistent on air pollution, and commit to bringing London’s air pollution down to legal and safe limits by 2020.”