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Advertiser letters: Heathrow expansion and protecting children online

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 June 2018

Green Party MP Jean Lambert is angry about Heathrow Airport expansion. Picture: JOSHUA FOWLER

Green Party MP Jean Lambert is angry about Heathrow Airport expansion. Picture: JOSHUA FOWLER

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

No to airport expansion

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, writes:

It’s a sick joke that the government would choose World Environment Day to confirm its plans to expand Heathrow Airport.

This proposal highlights where the government’s priorities lie – in its desperate pursuit of any spurious hope of economic growth, rather than in the wellbeing of our planet and people.

Air pollution in the Heathrow area already breaches EU safety limits. Adding another 700 planes a day to the mix is only going to exacerbate the problem – as well as bringing a surge in noise pollution, and an influx of new local traffic. The government’s own air quality analysis shows the plans would further breach legal air pollution limits. ​Its promises on air quality are full of hot air.

In its desperation to show that the UK is ‘open for business’, the government is prepared to throw money at this project. The promise of private capital does not mean there is no public cost. But right now it can’t even guarantee that flights won’t be grounded after Brexit day in March 2019 – let alone that the UK will need a significantly increased airport capacity.

There is no evidence to suggest this flight of fancy is economically or environmentally viable.

Protect children from online risks

Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

New research for Barnardo’s has revealed that more than two thirds of 12-year-olds in London, and a quarter of 10-year-olds, have posted live videos on apps and websites meant for older children and adults.

Our online survey suggests thousands of younger children may be putting themselves at risk by sharing content on sites with a minimum age limit of 13.

Almost one third of young Londoners say they or a friend have regretted posting live content on platforms including SnapChat, YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, Musical.ly and Live.ly, which provide inadequate safety controls and settings.

Live streaming is being used by predators to groom children online. We know from our specialist services in London and across the UK that children are at risk of ‘live grooming’ on online platforms.

Theresa May vowed to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. But new laws are not expected for at least two years and this is simply not good enough for the children who need protecting.

Social media giants need to act now by putting robust age-verification rules in place. Any delay could put another generation of children in danger.

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