In UK the latest government forecasts predict a 239% change on 1995 by 2015 of the terminal passenger numbers. I t shows a requirement equivalent of an extra 3 -4 airports the size of Heathrow. The country needs to follow the sustainable development policy of its own and of EU. The required framework of aviation should reduce impact, increase growth and protect environment. (DETR 1997 as cited inWhitelegg 2000). A few recommendation suggested are: putting an environment charge based on emissions, ending of all subsidies and tax exemptions and more stringent noise and emission standards.(Whitelegg 2000)
Environmental data and criteria: The London mayor is particularly optimistic about environmental safety by moving airport into the Thames estuary. It would cut noise since planes could approach the airport over the North Sea. Moreover, the Heathrow expansion would put pressure on the dense west London while there is alternative to the east. The noise has been the complaint of many residents and the levels of global warming emission gases have gone beyond EU and Environmental Agency norms (Katz 2008). Ben Stewart of Greenpeace argues that increase in number of flights from a four runway would negate the environmental benefits. He feels that new runways are new runways and we should rather think about bringing emission down by funding for railways and other low carbon emission transports. (Murray 2008).
Unite, Britain's biggest union feels that Thames is not the best place due to tidal and storm surges, which can increase sea level by several metres. The noise would not be solved when airport is moved, it will only shift to another area. The resort towns of North Kent and South Essex would suffer the noise pollution instead of the population of west London. The area is also a bird sanctuary raising the worries of bird strikes causing aircraft engines and windscreens to fail (PR News, 2008).
The environmental data must clearly indicate levels of CO, SO2, NOX, O3, Particulate Matter and Lead generated and their effects on coastal resources, fish and wild life, wading birds. The scientific study must also provide data on light emission and visual impacts on people around airport (Halcrow group 2003).
In the light of these suggestions and protests the data needed by the minister for environment are :
The noise damages health and quality of life. It can cause sleep disturbances, psychological and mental disturbances, annoyance and can make one hearing impaired ( WHO 1993 as cited in Whitelegg 2000). The idea of new airport into Thames estuary is attractive to some planners because planes could fly over the North Sea, alleviating concerns about noise pollution and allowing it to operate 24 hours a day (Katz 2008).
How many are already living in the 57Decibel or higher (for a restful life it is upto 55dB) contour of noise and how many more would be added in coming years. This aspect seems in favour of Thames estuary airport as zero population would be added by 2015. While expansion of Heathrow may add another 107000, Stansted 3000 and at Gatwick a further addition of 9000, who would be living in this noise contour if further expansion of the later three airports is allowed . Expansion of Heathr