Firstly, it seems politicians are starting to get their head about the anger caused by the unabated Heathrow expansion pushed by BAA and the DfT:
Government body calls for Heathrow review (RTT, 19/09/08)
Wandsworth Council leader Edward Lister said: “First the environment
agency now the SDC, how many more of the Government’s own advisers have
to tell Gordon Brown that he has got it wrong on Heathrow expansion?
“The economic case for expanding Heathrow seems to hinge on a
future of cheaper flights and ever-growing demand. But none of these
assumptions seem to take account of rising oil costs, the economic
downturn or the government’s own CO2 targets.
“No serious attempt has been made to compare the benefits of a
third runway with other transport solutions such as high speed rail for
which there is great demand on Scotland and the North.
“It’s five years since the airports white paper was published and
it is looking increasingly irrelevant to the nation’s transport needs.
“Brown should order an independent study that looks at the full
impact of expanding Heathrow on all sectors of the economy – and
compares it to the alternatives. There must be more to UK transport
policy than what is good for BAA.”
Did he read my previous posts on the subject??? The Sustainable Development Commission report is here.
Tories promise to shelve plans for third runway (RTT, 29/09/08)
"shadow transport secretary Theresa Villers said a Tory Government would
spend £20billion on a high-speed rail line between London’s St Pancras,
where the Eurostar is based, and Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds."
I couldn't agree more!
Boris Johnson has smelt the opportunity and resurrected the plans for a new airport in the estuary:
Boris Johnson airs plan for Heathrow-on-Sea (Times Online 10/02/08). Makes total sense to me, as it's not that much more expensive than a third runway and a much better location. Unfortunately, short-sighted politicians have stalled it so far:
"Since the 1960s, 13 major cities including Paris, Milan and New York have
moved their airports further out. In Hong Kong, the government spent six
years and $20 billion building an airport on an artificial island and
linking it by bullet train to the city.In Britain, however, similar proposals have repeatedly been blocked. In the
1970s a scheme to build an airport on Maplin Sands near Southend-on-Sea in
Essex was abandoned because of a shortage of public funds."
(Image from "Scrap Heathrow and build a £30bn airport on an island, says Boris Johnson", Daily Mail 22/09/08)
PS: just to confirm that the company running Heathrow isn't up to the job:
Bacteria leaks and lost passengers among Heathrow breaches (RTT, 28/09/08)
CAA supports forced sell off of BAA airports