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Aircraft create pollution including Nitrogen Dioxide, particulates and lead (yes - some aviation fuel still has lead in it). Airborne pollution is the biggest killer in the UK and is responsible for 28,000 – 38,000 deaths a year. We’ve had legislation like the Clean Air Act for a long time but, like the situation in our rivers, it hasn’t stopped pollution increasing. You may have heard of Ella Kissi-Debrah – the young girl who died from air pollution in London in 2013. Partly as a result of that, air pollution legislation was introduced in 2021 through The Environment Act. Councils now have a much greater responsibility to measure and reduce airborne pollution. The problem with Farnborough is that Rushmoor Borough Council isn’t measuring the impact of the airport’s pollution properly and current levels of Nitrogen Dioxide regularly exceed World Health Organisation "safe levels". That may be because the airport funds the council’s environmental team. Only Nitrogen Dioxide is being measured and that is like trying to detect cancer by taking your temperature. There needs to be much more comprehensive monitoring of pollution from the airport given the proximity to schools, colleges and houses. There are 47,000 children in 110 schools less than 3,000ft under Farnborough's flightpaths that are impacted by pollution (airborne and noise). FNG is working with organisations to measure ultrafine particles that are produced by jet engines and are now a recognised serious health risk as they can pass into tissues such as the lungs and into the rest of the body. Transport & Environment release a report in June 2024 regarding ultrafine particle pollution.

Aviation pollution is also impacting wildlife. Farnborough Airport reported in its environmental assessment, as part of its expansion planning application, that nitrate deposition on protected environmental sites is 3 - 7 times the safe limit.

The is an additional article on Aviation Pollution here.

Diagram of pollution levels near Farnborough airport

Pollution levels are highest near the airport despite FAL claiming it is caused by road traffic on the M3/A331

Graph showing pollution levels near Farnborough Airport

World Health Organisation “safe” levels of NO2 are 20ug/m3 and the “Target” is 10ug/m3. These are measurements from FAL/RBC’s latest environmental report

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