Friday, 16 January 2009

The right decision on Heathrow

The government has taken a brave and correct decision on the expansion of Heathrow. On a personal level, the experience of the effect of a bit of fog on the schedule or spending an hour circling because of a backlog is a pretty poor advertisement for our most important hub airport. And hardly a great contributor to the environment. I do try to use the train or fly from Bristol when I can, but for international flights outside Europe Heathrow has to be endured.

The idea that the most important airport in Britain should be allowed to continue operating in its current manner is extraordinary. The notion that someone charged with representing the interests of all Londoners should oppose the new runway is bizarre. And, as Iain suggests, the moans from the likes of Emma Thompson would have a little more credibility if she gave up her international flights to attend luvvie parties in the States. Perhaps similar self-denying ordinances could be followed by all opponents of the new runway.

No other country in the world would spend so long agonising over whether to build an extra runway in an airport as important as Heathrow. Indeed, it is preposterous that it will still take the best part of a decade for the runway to be built. Of course, we need to ensure that modern low carbon aircraft are used and environmental concerns dealt with. And we need to get on with building better rail links (perhaps Greenpeace could use its efforts to help the government cut through the planning inquiries to get those built since it is telling us to use the train not the plane).

But not building a third runway at Heathrow will not stop people flying; it will just cost Britain business.

And having heard the promises of Tory transport spokeswoman Theresa Villiers that a Tory government would tear up any contracts for a new runway, I can see why Iain is so worried about the sanity of his party. Next time you are plagued by delays in the air or on the ground at Heathrow, just remember that the Tory policy is that you should continue to endure such misery. It is for your own good, after all.


Anonymous said...

It will cost us in Labour dearly in seats around London. As we are going to get trounced you will have a lot more to blog about come 2010.

Conor Ryan said...

I do love those people who aren't prepared to sign their comments. But I simply don't believe you. Aside from those who face compulsory purchase orders, most Londonders will welcome the extra jobs and better facilities at Heathrow. Those polls that have appeared to date don't suggest anything else.