Intended for healthcare professionals


Aviation and public health

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 04 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f593
  1. Jangu Banatvala, emeritus professor of clinical virology1,
  2. Mala Rao, professor of international health2
  1. 1King’s College London, School of Medicine and Dentistry, London SE1 7EH, UK
  2. 2Institute for Health and Human Development, University of East London, London, UK
  1. jangu{at}

Are we forgetting to consult on the health implications of airport development?

The United Kingdom’s Department for Transport recently drafted an Aviation Policy Framework for the UK to achieve a balance between the economic importance of aviation and promoting good health and quality of life in the community.1 The framework stressed transparency in decision making, and it has been sent for consultation to the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs; the Treasury; the Department of Energy and Climate Change; and the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills but disappointingly not to the Department of Health.

A commission chaired by Howard Davies was launched in 2012 to make recommendations on airport expansion in the UK,2 and, most recently, a public consultation on London’s airport expansion opened with the promise of “the fairest possible evaluation” of the available options.3 Evidence from the public consultation will be submitted to the commission.

Safeguarding public health in the face of industrial development should be one of a government’s main priorities. The World Health Organization …

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