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Call for urgent health check on Wellington runway extension

Call for urgent health check on Wellington runway extension plans

30 April

OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council is calling for an independent health check on Wellington Airport’s expensive plans to extend the runway into Lyall Bay.

Aviation makes a significant contribution to climate-damaging emissions – the average Wellingtonian's footprint is 5.32 CO2eq tonnes annually with almost 20% from domestic flights.

“These emissions contribute to climate change, a leading global threat to health,” says OraTaiao co-convenor Dr Rhys Jones. “An extension of the runway would exacerbate this situation.”

Each additional flight, particularly international, adds enormously to our overall emissions footprint. For example, one person flying return to Hong Kong burns up 4.0 tonnes, and London return 7.9 tonnes.

“The world has agreed on a pathway towards zero net global emissions this century,” says Dr Jones. “Successful, thriving cities will be those who develop along this trajectory. The runway extension would take Wellington in exactly the wrong direction – for our economy and for our health.”

“At the moment we’re flying blind,” says Dr Jones. “Neither the airport nor the Council even know much the extension will increase emissions.”

“The only reference to climate by the airport to date has been the viability of the runway extension with increasing sea levels and extreme weather events. This ignores the high health costs to all of us from escalating emissions as the airport expects passenger numbers to double by 2030.”

“A health check on Wellington’s airport runway extension plans is urgently needed,” says Dr Jones.


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