Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2017
This comment on the Air Pollution section of the report has been kindly submitted to us by KEVIN PRIESTLEY who has given us permission to publish this article.
7th May, 2018
Health Impacts of All Pollution –What Do We Know?
The full report is available HERE
(The Section on AIR POLLUTION begins on page 65)
This is why there needs to be a grid of sensors (say 10,000) surrounding the airport along all the roads (attached to lamp posts) / motorways, along the boundaries of schools, care homes and public buildings / open spaces and underneath anywhere where aircraft currently fly in/out of the airport and where they will fly after a third runway causes the change in flight paths.
These sensors need to be gathering noise (decibel) readings from passing vehicles and aircraft. They also need to be gathering air pollulant measurements. This sensor grid needs building now, so that any trends in increasing vehicle traffic (M4 hard shoulder running) on the road network is tracked ahead of any new terminals opening and the arrival of the extra flights from a 3rd runway.
An Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure (A data centre, 4G data module & SIM plus the mini solar panel & sensor module) needs building to retrieve the data gathered from all these sensors. Plenty of data centres within Slough Trading Estate. The data gathered should be presented in near real-time, aligned with the 20 minute delay on the flight tracker websites, to a publicly available website.
This sensor grid data centre should be linked with the flight tracking websites, so the noise pollution generated by aircraft is identified and the owner/operator of that aircraft can be fined for breaches to noise emission levels measured vs those claimed by the aircraft manufacturers, the airline and Heathrow airport. Landing fees will adjust to collect these fines.
The Department of Transport should fund the capital costs for this IoT infrastructure and if they feel the urge to off-load some of those costs to the Heathrow Airport Expansion Project, so be it. This requirement should be a mandatory condition of any expansion. The airport should be obliged to fund the operating costs for this IoT infrastructure for the five years before a third runway opens and the first decade after the runway opens.
The Department of Health and Social Service and University medical researchers should have access to the data sets (noise / air pollutants). GPs should be able to check this data when patients present with breathing / sleep deprivation issues. Private companies should pay a subscription fee for access to the historical data, to help fund future operating costs of this infrastructure.
Ultimately, the objective of this IoT infrastructure is to gather irrefutable evidence of a link between pollution and health (shortened life spans) which prevents the aviation / transport industry from doing what the tobacco industry has done for decades – deny they are responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths.
The step up in aircraft generated and vehicle generated pollutants from additional aircraft arrivals/departures and additional airport visitors not arriving in an electric vehicle will become immediately evident. Heathrow Airport’s failure to meet its promises to encourage modal shift to train based arrivals will also be evident. The rate of increase in breathing issues / sudden deaths will take longer to build up within NHS patients who are living or working around the airport.
It will be easier to hold ex Government Ministers and Directors of Heathrow Airport and the Airlines (flying old polluting / noisy aircraft into Heathrow) accountable for any increased deaths associated with Heathrow Airport Expansion.
So the local MPs representing the councils against this expansion should be preparing their private members bills to insist this IoT infrastructure is built and funded, so that local residents / workers, who would have their health sacrificed for the UK economy are financially compensated for a shortened life span.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) should be able to use the data to set new lower emission limits that are deemed safer for residents / workers, if the evidence suggests current limits are causing significant deaths / breathing problems.
The WHO should probably be the custodians of the data sets generated from this IoT infrastructure, given Government Ministers are economical with the facts/reality and have a bad habit of skewing data/statistics to support their own narrative.
I would happily have one of these sensors attached to my home!