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Ultrafine particles from aircraft engines can endanger lives

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

There is growing evidence that ultrafine particles of atmospheric pollution emitted by aircraft engines (and vehicle engines) can affect the heart, lungs, blood pressure and risk foetal growth.

The tinier the particle, the further it can get into the lungs, and thus into the blood circulation - and hence the widespread effects on the body. Research carried out at Gatwick has shown that the number of ultrafine particles 500 metres downwind of the airport was greater than those at the kerb of London’s busiest roads.

These particles mostly came from aircraft during takeoff and landing but traffic, car parks and all added to the problem.

Ultrafine particles can travel miles downwind of an airport. Although known to be a health hazard, ultrafine particles are excluded from environmental assessments for planning applications, putting us at risk of increased air pollution for decades to come.


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