There are three simple but compelling reasons why the government’s go-ahead for another runway at Heathrow is utterly insane:-
First is of course that even if you believe in ever-expanding airport capacity Heathrow is about the very last place any rational person would seek to put an airport today. The shocking road congestion and appalling noise levels for large numbers of local people who have to endure the misery of non-stop and ever increasing flights is too high a price to pay. Remember that London is the busiest by far of world, let alone EU air destinations: In 2007, a combined total of 139 million passengers used the five London airports. That compares with 88 million who used all Paris airports, London’s closest European rival.
Secondly, the government may not have noticed but we face a global catastrophe due to climate change which is happening now. Whilst Daily Telegraph leader writers, David Bellamy and other idiots who have sold their soles to the denial lobby may cry wolf, glaciers disintegrate around us and all the scientific evidence points to accelerating and irreversible change in a very short time scale. The Times recently claimed that “the jobs outweigh the climate danger”! If this is the view of supposedly intelligent commentators, then God help us.
As if this weren’t cogent enough, there is ‘Peak Oil’. The consensus in the industry is that global oil output will decline in the next decade. The Society of British Aerospace Companies concludes that there is currently no commercially available alternative to kerosene on the horizon. It also finds that liquids produced from gas or coal have CO2 emission problems, and liquids produced from biomass are a very long way off from either commercial production or a resolution of land-use issues. So even if this lunacy does go ahead, it seems likely that a third runway would be no more than a huge white elephant.
So let’s be honest about this: Heathrow is a monumentally stupid decision from a government which is increasingly bereft of any vision, courage or morality. Moreover, greenwash fudges from the Tories and LibDems who suggest that the cuddly alternative is ‘sustainable’ expansion elsewhere be it on Romney Marsh, the Thames estuary or Stansted, are almost equally bankrupt. It’s profoundly worrying that so many decision makers appear willing to close their eyes to the parlous stare we are in globally, in favour of perceived short term economic gain.