Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ministers to consider all airport options

To be noted that the manifesto commitment makes no sense.  Not to expand Heathrow during this parliament does not represent a position, is a mere postponement of a serious issue.

Either you expand Heathrow or build a new airport.  Frankfurt has 4 runways, so does Paris CdG, Arlanda has three runways.  The Heathrow ecological arguments are implausible.  Wild life and noise pollution incremental costs of new runways are actually the least disruptive in an expansion plan.  Leaving Heathrow as it is and building a new airport will cost financially and ecologically much more, and will not decrease the current costs to residents.  Free market theory tells us the polluters must compensate the ones affected.  The Conservatives tell us all the time that life is full of tough decisions when it comes to cutting the living standards of millions of people.  Government ministers have asked people to move from their homes if they cannot afford them, but fail to practice what they preach with their protected groups.  The good news is so many retail outlets who went bust on Britain's high streets are empty and can be seamlessly converted into homes (one of the most absurd ideas of all times!), so the current residents can move out from underneath the landing paths of the A380s if they are not compensated enough.

London is the only big city with too many small airports, the result of decades of nymbistic patchy solutions.  The Barnes and Richmond interest groups versus economic sense.  Mumbling a number of ineffective possibilities does not show thinking, it shows cowardliness.

To commit to a "no expansion" position before the elections and the air transport strategic review is at least careless.  Leadership is about assuming responsibility, taking decisions and acting swiftly.

The aviation strategy has to be defined and implemented sustainably as soon as possible.  Why does this government escape responsibility on education, infrastructure and housing?  Time to tell us who they are and what can they do.  Enough it's enough.

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