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MIT: Third Heathrow runway may up deaths

Oct. 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM   |   Comments

BOSTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A third runway at London's Heathrow Airport would increase airport air pollution-related deaths from the current 50 a year to 150 by 2030, researchers say.

However, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and Cambridge University in England estimated even if the new runway was not built, the number of deaths related to aircraft pollution would double to 110 a year by 2030, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

The study, scheduled to be published in the journal Aviation and the Environment, said building a new airport in the Thames Estuary would cut the number of deaths by up to 70 percent, because the the southwesterly prevailing wind, which currently blows pollution northeast from Heathrow into London, would blow pollution out to sea instead.

"On a nationwide basis, early deaths due to English airport emissions decrease by a quarter relative to an unexpanded Heathrow," the study said. "In other words, airport capacity would be expanded and health impacts reduced under the Thames Hub scenario."

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, called for a "Boris Island" airport to the southeast of London at the Conservative Party Conference last week.

"We are not taking the decisive action that we need to make ourselves competitive with other European countries, with Dubai, with all these competitors of ours that are putting on new runways."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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