National politics

No third runway

Nicked from the ConservativesThe biggest news for West London coming out of today’s Tory conference sessions was Theresa Villers’ announcement that the next Conservative government would not go ahead with the third runway at Heathrow. Instead the next Conservative government would go for high speed rail as a way of reducing the demand for air travel around London. See Conservative’s announcement here.

The Evening Standard reports a negative reaction from businesses.

The overall mood at the conference is pretty sombre given the financial news this morning. Grant Schapps, late of the Ealing Southall campaign last July, made much of the slump in mortgage lending announced today by the Bank of Englnad.

4 replies on “No third runway”

I think the Tories are missing the point here and I wonder if it is deliberate. Are we supposed to believe that the proposed third runway would only be used for internal flights?? Somehow I doubt it.

A high speed rail link would be hugely expensive and would only cut down on internal domestic flights. Heathrow needs to be an International ‘Hub’ airport with flights and connections to a wide variety of overseas destinations. If it loses that status, then continental airports like Frankfurt and Amsterdam’s Schipol, which have more runways and good transport links, will overtake Heathrow.

Heathrow is a big employer in West London. It could end up employing fewer people, or a lot more if it gets a third runway. On the other hand, the entire village of Sipson would disappear and probably most of Harmondsworth if the runway is built.

The vocal and well organised Noise and Environmental groups will campaign vigorously against any extension of Heathrow but aircraft are becoming more fuel efficient and less noisy and the aircraft manufacturers are working to very clear and defined requirements to reduce both fuel consumption and noise. By the time the runway would be built, aircraft noise and fuel emissions will be much less.

Somehow I don’t think we have heard the last of this saga. Like a soap opera, it will go on, and on.


I don’t know if you’ve noticed Peter but the golden age of flying is about to come to an end. Don’t follow the President Bush line that technology will give us a Get-out-Of-Gaol-Free card with regards to non-polluting flying.

Even the self acclaimed fabulous O’Leary of Ryanair is hoping for break-even at best for Ryanair next year – and that was before the floor fell through in banking world wide. Ryanair is probably the the most financially robust of any world airline. The US bail-out is a temporary ‘fix’ at best.

It is not the end of the world if Heathrow is third or 23rd as a European flying hub because flying will atrophy as cheap flying will become a thing of the past; folks will not have the money to spend; climate change imperatives will be enshrined in regulatory edicts which will reduce flying; and Zen Buddism will kick in to remind us that what we seek is not on the other side of the world but actually in our own front rooms.

Heathrow will die much like the coal towns in the North died – and as it’s not banking don’t expect the Government to bail out airport workers.

It’s not a soap opera- it’s a carbon opera.


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Eric, but flying on business is still alive and well. When I used to fly on business, it was always from and to Heathrow. Whenever I went on holiday, it was always Stanstead or Gatwick. Why do you think London City Airport is doing so well and wants to expand?? Position has something to do with it but holiday flights certainly have nothing to do with it.

With the increasing importance of China and India in particular as business and trading partners and South America starting to follow, Heathrow will become increasingly important in future, not less so.

I’m afraid you’ve swallowed too much carbon, you’re choking on it.


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