Posts Tagged ‘heathrow’

Heathrow expansion: Tories throw spanner in the works

January 15, 2009

Heathrow: First it was celebrities buying plots of land on the third runway site (see below).

But  the Tories are throwing a bigger spanner in the works: they vow to pull the plug on the project if they get into government – this was said categorically by shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. heathrow-silhouette

Surely this must be a bigger threat than the likes of Emma Thomson and Zac Goldsmith buying parcels of land in fields near the Sipson – the village earmarked for bulldozing to make way for the runway.

I expect most political pundits would say all bets are off at the moment as to who would win the next election and when that will be. But they’d probably say the Tories have a fair chance of winning.

This raises a whole bunch of interesting questions for the project. What will happen to the massive amount of commercial contracts signed off by then if the projects already underway?

Participating companies would presumably already invested millions. Is this going to put firms off bidding?

What if compulsory purchase orders for the site have already been completed?

And does this mean they will give stronger support to a new estuary airport? – as proposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson

Answers below please. UK Plc needs to know!

Heathrow: how cunning is Operation Baldrick?

January 13, 2009

The press are busy today adding a showbiz splash of celebrity names to the Heathrow airport expansion furore – a much-needed dash of colour to the Hounslow concrete grey of this story.

Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson and comedian Alistair McGowan are among those buying up land which will be needed by BAA for the third runway. They’re adding their clout to a plan of action by Greenpeace.

The idea is that completing compulsory purchase orders on all these tiny plots of land, with their disparate owners around the world will be a Herculean task for the government. airport3

It’s kind of cunning I suppose, but also rather depressing – rather than changing the path of global CO2 emissions and climate change, it just means the Heathrow expansion will take longer and be more expensive.

Meanwhile, in the fraught intervening years, Heathrow and its surrounding environs will just carry on being increasingly polluted, congested, dysfunctional and miserable. Great.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Why not just build another bloody airport!? Instead of tinkering around with this 70-year-old edifice that was originally conceived in the Jurassic era of air travel. Like those many other countries, which have a more creative, forward thinking, can-do attitude towards air travel.

An airport for the 21st century?

November 6, 2008

It is disheartening to hear the politicos bickering, agonising and tying themselves in knots over Heathrow expansion.

In all those tiger economies of the east, they’ve not dithered for years about tacking extensions onto a creaking 70-year-old airport in the middle of town. They’ve just gone ahead and built a brand new multibillion-dollar showpiece somewhere else.

Why can’t we do that? Why does everything we do have to be so shoddy and ‘make do’?

What is so outlandish about building a new airport in the Thames estuary? It’s the kind of thing they do everywhere else in the world.

The business travel community tends to view situations from a global outlook. The tussling over ‘slots’ and the extraordinary levels of congestion in the sky and on the ground looks terribly rickety and old-fashioned compared to what’s going on in the near and far east.

Then there’s all the talk of closing Heathrow and putting the thousands of people – who live in the area and service the airport – out of work. Why? With the steady growth of air travel – which seems to continue despite economic cycles and fuel price fluctuations – there’s enough planes wanting to fly in and out of London to justify both the airports.
Perhaps the pressure could be eased on Heathrow – less early morning/late night flights, less CO2-spewing stacking in the skies, less queues, less delays. Does this really sound so terrible?

I know there’ll be a million good eco-arguments against building in the Thames estuary, but if not out to sea, then where? There are an equal number of arguments against Heathrow expansion, and I don’t see how a new train link to Manchester or wherever is going to solve the problems of the world’s busiest hub.