A plane taxis at Hanscom Air Field. File photo

Concord joins towns studying Hanscom Field hangar expansion 

By Anne O’Connor  Anne@theconcordbridge.org
January 5, 2024

Concerned about plans for a major expansion at Hanscom Field, Concord’s Select Board in December approved spending $6,250 to join three other communities adjacent to the airfield area for a study of ultrafine particulates. Together, the towns will contribute half the funding needed to study the impacts of jet emission on air quality both in buildings and outside. 

Another $25,000 is needed, a sum the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission has requested from the Massport Community Advisory Committee. 

MCAC has not decided if it will fund the request. “We … are still in discussions about whether or not we will be able to participate at this time,” Aaron Toffler, the executive director of the committee, said in an email. 

The study is intended to identify a baseline air quality before any possible expansion at Hanscom, said Mark Giddings, Concord’s representative on the HFAC. A copy of the presentation is available at theconcordbridge.org. 

The study would be conducted by Neelakshi Hudda, a Tufts University professor who specializes in urban air pollution and transportation emissions. Her earlier work includes studies around Logan Airport in Boston and Los Angeles International Airport. 

The Hanscom expansion plan is currently under review by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Office. The original plan was amended to reduce the number of new hangars from 27 to 17.  

Document request 

A number of documents requested by Concord’s lawyers about Hanscom arrived in December. The Select Board has made those documents available to The Concord Bridge and the Select Boards of Lexington, Lincoln and Bedford. 

The Bridge is reviewing the documents. 

Grassroots activism 

After 100 activists protested the proposed expansion at Hanscom in October, Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Third Middlesex) called the project a “terrible two-fer: aiding and abetting the warming of the planet, and pandering to the concentration of private wealth,” in “The Barrett Report,” a constituent newsletter sent out on December 21. 

Barrett also spoke at the October 2 rally.