Despite all the opposition to a third runway, the lack of plausible arguments in favour of expansion, the alternatives (i.e. more trains), the fascistic nature of seizing people’s homes to build the runway, and not forgetting the government’s alleged commitment to reducing carbon emissions, it looks increasingly likely that a third runway will be sanctioned. Perhaps the only hope is opposition from Labour MPs whose constituencies are around the Heathrow area. Heathrow airport is one of the area’s largest employers, and many people are employed by it, or have family and neighbours who work there. Therefore, most criticisms of Heathrow are tempered by the realisation that the area would be worse off without it.
Yet supporters of expansion have failed to make a case for expansion, since the main problems with Heathrow could be solved without a third runway; namely, the way in which the airport is run, and the delays. The former problem simply requires better management, while the latter is a result of too many planes. Fewer planes would mean that planes were able to land sooner, reducing their carbon dioxide emissions and making flying to Heathrow a more attractive prospect. Add in high-speed rail links and you mitigate the need of many to fly from Heathrow, especially on domestic flights. Some foreign airports are indeed expanding their capacity, but it doesn’t mean that Heathrow needs to. It is currently the busiest airport in terms of international passengers, so a faster train network with more capacity would shift the burden from Heathrow. Of course BAA and the CBI argue that expanding Heathrow is vital for the British economy, but then that is their job; BAA is charged with getting the best deal for their shareholders, while the CBI is a lobby group. It is a shame though when they have to resort to increasingly desperate arguments:
“Richard Lambert, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, admitted that reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 would be a “stretch” under current progress. He said aviation would contribute “meaningfully” to the target even if Heathrow expansion goes ahead, which would generate 2.6m more tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and raise the annual number of flights from 480,000 to 702,000.”
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Filed in: Civil liberties,Environmentalism