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Doctors Express Concern over Airport Expansion

Posted on 14th December, 2019

 

UPDATE See the current number of flights over your area, e.g. 17 Apr 20 during COVID-19 restrictions.

 

UPDATE 19 MAR 20 Decision Notice Refused

 

UPDATE 11 & 26 MAR 20 Committee Report and Update

 

UPDATE 10 FEB 20: Application REFUSED, with BBC News article stating North Somerset ``Councillors voted 18-7, with one abstention, to reject it.``

 

UPDATE: 07 FEB 20 Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA) rebuttal, stating that, "The PCAA considers that Officers have given undue weight to perceived benefits and policy statements that support the case for approval and far too little weight to welldocumented objections and the obvious material consideration of climate emergency.``

 

UPDATE: 30 JAN 20 NSC Officers Report - ``It is recommended that subject to referral to the Secretary of State and the completion of a S106 legal agreement, this application be APPROVED subject to planning conditions``

 

--

In November 108 doctors from Culverhay Surgery, Wotton-under-Edge submitted an objection to the Bristol Airport Expansion application stating:

"Medact Bristol is a network of healthcare professionals living and working in the Bristol area. We are writing to express our opposition to the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport. We are deeply concerned that any expansion of the airport would constitute a significant threat to human health. We call on you to commit to preventing the expansion of Bristol Airport. We detail specific health concerns below.

  1. Air Quality
  2. Noise pollution
  3. Climate Change ...

In conclusion, we assert that pursuing airport expansion endangers the health and wellbeing of people in Bristol and North Somerset. We present evidence to show the threats to health caused by 3 mechanisms relating to the proposed expansion; worsening air quality, noise pollution and contributions to climate breakdown.

 

We also point out the significant economic costs of these health impacts. We therefore believe there is a moral obligation and duty of care to residents to act now and oppose airport expansion."

If you have something to say about this application you can can submit your comments online to North Somerset via planning application 18/P/5118/OUT

 

 

 

NB: In October Bristol Airport Ltd submitted additional information for its latest expansion application. In November North Somerset Council sent a letter to parish councils asking for their comments, with a deadline of 01 December 2019. As published last week, on 11 Nov 19 (Min 328.12) BPC resolved not to make an additional comment but to rely on their previous May 19 submission)

 

See previous Airport Expansion BOB blog 

 

Also BOB's Environmental page 

 

 

-------

 

BACKGROUND

 

 

Submission to North Somerset Council by "Culverhay Surgery Wotton Under Edge GL12 7LS (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 12 Nov 2019

 

Dear Councillors,

Re: Bristol Airport, North Side Road, Felton, Wrington BS48 3DP

Planning application: 18/P/5118/OUT

 

Medact Bristol is a network of healthcare professionals living and working in the Bristol area. We are writing to express our opposition to the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport. We are deeply concerned that any expansion of the airport would constitute a significant threat to human health. We call on you to commit to preventing the expansion of Bristol Airport. We detail specific health concerns below.

 

1. Air Quality

[See Government Clean Air Strategy & Executive Summary also Clean Growth Strategy & Executive]

 

Increasing capacity at Bristol Airport will involve increased emissions from aeroplanes and increased emissions from vehicular transport to and from the airport. Together, these will worsen air quality in the Bristol area. We can expect that surface emissions will be increased by 9,500 additional vehicle movements per day. That is 13,000 - 28,000 private vehicle journeys per day to and from the airport.

 

Premature deaths, of which an estimated 16000 a year globally are attributable to aviation emissions, are mostly due to the PM and ozone released during take-off and landing (Yim et al 2013). For those populations who live within 20km of an airport an estimated 5000 people will suffer a premature death due to aviation emissions.

 

A recent study by Kings College London examining the Public Health Implications of air pollution from particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide found evidence of decreased life expectancy of children born and growing up in high levels of exposure (Dajnak et al 2019). In adults, exposure to these pollutants is linked to increased risk of heart and lung disease including lung cancer (Pope III 2002), obesity, stroke, asthma and diabetes (RCP & RCPCH 2019). Mental health is also at risk, with a recent meta-analysis concluding that an increase in ambient PM is strongly associated with increased depression risk in the general population (Gu et al 2019), as well as studies showing a link between poor air quality and dementia (Carey 2018).

 

It has been shown that exposure to air pollution in pregnancy can cause low birth weight, in particular fetal head size (Turner et al 2017). Low birth weight is associated with morbidity later in life such as coronary artery disease, type two diabetes and asthma. These health effects exert an economic toll for individuals, businesses and health services. In the UK, the costs due to poor air quality are estimated at more than £20 billion every year (RCP & RCPCH 2019).

 

2. Noise pollution

[See Government Airspace Change Consultation]

 

Under the planned expansion there would be a flight every three minutes, up to 4000 night flights and thousands of additional residents being 'flown over'.

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognise noise as an 'underestimated threat' that has significant Public Health effects. They advise decibel (dB) levels of less than 30db(A) in a bedroom for good quality sleep, and less than 35 db(A) in a classroom for effective learning. The average dB level of an aircraft taking off is in the order of 100dB.

 

Noise pollution is linked to sleep disturbance and heart disease. Furthermore it has been shown to have a greater effect on the very young; the WHO states there is "consistent evidence that noise exposure harms cognitive performance; consistent association with impaired well-being and motivation to a slightly more limited extent [and] moderate evidence of effects on blood pressure and catecholamine hormone secretion."

 

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) list stress, annoyance, sleep disruption, and poor performance at school and work as the recognised effects of noise pollution from airports.

 

It is therefore clear that the additional noise pollution generated by increased capacity at Bristol Airport would cause morbidity and premature death for the residents of North Somerset and Bristol.

 

 

3. Climate Change

[See NSC Climate Emergency Update]

 

The negative environmental impacts of the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport are far greater, both in terms of CO2 and non-COs gases, than is stated in the planning application (Gibbs 2019) and would therefore contribute significantly to the climate emergency. The advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently stated the UK's planned increase in aviation needs to be curbed. This expansion directly contravenes this advice.

 

Climate change is the 'biggest global health threat of the 21st century' (Lancet, 2009). The WHO predicts that between 2030 and 2050 there will be an additional 250,000 deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and dehydration due to climate chaos. Climate change is also linked to more chaotic extremes of not only heat but also rain and therefore flooding. This will lead to more problems with contaminated water sources, diarrhoeal disease and vector-borne diseases such as malaria, as well as contributing to a situation where food is less abundant and more expensive.

 

The UN has also stated that climate change is putting 'the food security of billions of people at risk'. Furthermore, weather chaos will lead to damage and access difficulties to healthcare bases such as hospitals and GP surgeries, strangling the ability of healthcare workers to deliver efficient care and preventing good access for patients.

 

These wide ranging issues will have direct and tangible negative effects on local residents. Climate change threatens the health and wellbeing of people in our community on our planet and threatens the very existence of the next generation.

 

In conclusion, we assert that pursuing airport expansion endangers the health and wellbeing of people in Bristol and North Somerset. We present evidence to show the threats to health caused by 3 mechanisms relating to the proposed expansion; worsening air quality, noise pollution and contributions to climate breakdown. We also point out the significant economic costs of these health impacts. We therefore believe there is a moral obligation and duty of care to residents to act now and oppose airport expansion.

 

Many thanks for your consideration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

1. Dr Grace Thompson 2. Dr. Fiona Headley 3. Dr. Alice Gardner 4. Dr. Rose Soame 5. Dr. Martin Hartog 6. Dr. Kate Highton 7. Dr. Chris Lamb 8. Dr. Catherine Stace 9. Dr. Hattie Nicholas 10. Dr. Jasmine Schulkind 11. Dr. Kathryn McGregor 12. Miss Jessica Hawkins 13. Dr. Katherine Savage 14. Dr. Martin Hartog 15. Dr. Elaine Lunts 16. Ms. Kate Paul 17. Dr. Thomas Watkivs 18. Dr. Catriona Mellor 19. Dr. James Watson 20. Ms. Lizzie O'Brien 21. Dr. Hannh Trewin 22. Dr. Lucy Pocock 23. Dr. Charles Holme 24. Mr. Jonathan Boyne 25. Dr. Diarmuid White 26. Dr. Seamus Harrington 27. Dr. Pippa Munro 28. Dr. Thomas Brookes 29. Dr. Sandra Fenn 30. Dr. Rajeka Lazarus 31. Dr. Olivia Burke 32. Dr. Harriet Burn 33. Dr. Jenny Harper Gow 34. Dr. Harriet Aughey 35. Dr. Nicholas Watts 36. Dr. Alexandra Tate 37. Dr. Helen Leveret 38. Dr. Zoe Richmond 39. Dr. Sophie Foster 40. Dr. Miranda Cole 41. Dr. Anna Ludvigsen 42. Dr. Sarah Briggs 43. Dr. Samuel Taylor-Smith 44. Dr. Joanne Girdler 45. Dr. Angela Wilson 46. Ms. Sue Kilroe 47. Ms. Peggy Woodward 48. Ms. Sarah Creagh-Osborne 49. Dr. Lesley Black 50. Dr. Diana Warner 51. Dr. Becca Hall 52. Dr. Jack Nicholson 53. Ms. Tracy Lyons 54. Mrs. Joanna Moulton 55. Dr. Faye Harvey 56. Dr. Victoria Bowler 57. Dr. James Pickard 58. Mrs. Lizzie Gibbs 59. Mrs. Zoe Coppin 60. Dr. Anya Gopfert 61. Dr. Rosa Roberts 62. Dr. Rosie Spooner 63. Dr. Joanna Waldock 64. Ms. Abbie Festa 65. Dr. Patrick Hart 66. Professor Trevor Thompson 67. Dr. Elizabeth Ormerod 68. Ms. Eimer Kilroe 69. Ms. Lucy Shapcott 70. Dr. Connie Smith 71. Dr. Katherine Dixon 72. Dr. Charles Dixon 73. Dr. Lucy Potter 74. Dr. Amy Ashford 75. Dr. Wiliam Stableforth 76. Dr. Helen Bowers 77. Dr. Lisa Revell 78. Dr. Annabel Headdon 79. Dr. Hyunkee Kim 80. Dr. Rebecca Vanmarle 81. Dr. Becca Hall 82. Dr. Sarah Goodall 83. Dr. Meg Dillon 84. Dr. Prianka Padmanathan 85. Dr. Trevor Aughey 86. Dr. Claire Ferraro 87. Dr. Jess Elliot 88. Dr. Luke McGeoch 89. Dr Aliesje Kuur 90. Dr Jessica Watson 91. Dr Stephane Paulus 92. DrGemma Matthewman 93. Dr Ceri Lumb 94. Dr Mike Prosser 95. Dr Sam Kuok 96. Dr Mungo Morris 97. Dr Joanna Smallman 98. Dr Charlotte Jones 99. Dr Paul Maries 100 .Dr Sophia Reynolds 101 .Dr Lavan Sivagnanam 102 Dr Rebekah Gabriel 103 Dr Kirsty Brownlie 104 Dr Louise Younie 105 Dr Will Duffin 106 Dr Victoria Medland 107 Dr Sam Kuok 108 Dr Felicity Fay

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