Thursday, 22 November 2007

Heathrow Descision is Climate Vandalism

Today the Government announced it was in favour of further expansion at Heathrow Airport. This has been condemned by Green Party Principal Speaker and MEP Caroline Lucas as an act of "climate vandalism", and she accused the government of being "in denial" over climate change.

"How it can be possible for the Prime Minister, just a few short days ago, to say that climate change was ‘an immense challenge to the world’, to which he promised to give utmost priority, in his first major speech on climate change since becoming Prime Minister. Now just a few days later, to give the green light to a major expansion of aviation, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions? Such behaviour isn't just pathological, it demonstrates a monumental failure of political leadership.”

“The problem is the government has made promises on two completely contradictory policies. One is to cut dramatically greenhouse gas emissions, the other is to expand the aviation industry. The success of the first policy has been limited, the success of the second has been remarkable. Expansion at Heathrow is also likely to breach mandatory EU air quality limit values that will apply from 2010 - I will be raising this with the Commission", she said.

Dr Lucas, who was the European Parliament's spokesperson, on aviation and environment last year, has been instrumental in developing EU legislation to try to reduce aviation emissions. Just last week, the European Parliament voted on the Commission's proposal to put the aviation sector into the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Dr Lucas said: "If emissions trading is to have a hope of reducing aviation emissions, there has to be a rigorous overall emissions cap, and serious limits to the amount of extra permits aviation is allowed to buy from other sources (ie, other industrial sectors, or projects abroad). Sadly, these two provisions were conspicuous by their absence in the commission proposal, but on the latter at least, I'm very pleased the Parliament has accepted my amendment to introduce such limits."

At the website has more information on the idiocies of expanding airports, including 10 reasons to ground the plane. says '78% of businesses in London oppose it (London Chamber of Commerce Report 2006). There is no hard evidence to show that the UK economy will suffer if Heathrow doesn’t expand. The Government’s own report, Transport and the Economy, (1999) found that, in a mature economy, which already has a well-developed transport system (such as the UK), any increase in economic growth from improved transport is likely to be modest (The Plane Truth: Aviation and the Environment, published by the Ashden Trust).

Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and West Drayton will be buldozed. Thousands of people will be forced out of many of these communities, as expansion plans will require the demolition of schools, pubs, shops and at least 750 homes.



Heathrow Airport is an International Hub Airport, not a domestic airport other than nine or so routes that feed from the UK as I’m sure you are aware.

Heathrow generates revenue and jobs for people living around the airport who work within it. If Heathrow is not allowed to expand by Luddites such as the Green Party, the business, revenue and work will go to France, Germany et al creating the same environmental issues but to the detriment of the British workforce.

Being an environmental martyr for the good of the planet is great for your karma but not so kind to the unemployed workers from the catering company who’s just lost their biggest contract to Rotterdam Airport.

With regards to the bulldozing of Harmondsworth, Sipson and West Drayton, that’s progress.

Adrian Windisch said...

Gideon, you wouldn't say that if you lived in a beautiful village facing destruction. And it will mean vastly more planes flying over inhabited parts of London, most residents will be against this. And your repeating the line about the hub airport, expand or die, that the pro airline people use, still doesn’t make it true. We have other airports that can more quickly and easily expanded, better links to Gatwick or Stanstead would solve this.

Don't forget peak oil, by the time they finish building it we won't have enough fuel anyway.

The third runway will be smaller and can only cope with short journeys, better to invest the money in more sustainable trains and buses. Our rivals in Europe have better/cheaper trains and buses, so by their own logic we are loosing business to other European countries. The economy in the area around Heathrow is already overheating, people can’t afford to live here. Better to invest in other areas.


Thses residents 'that will be against this' I assume have lived where they live before there was a Heathrow Airport?

It would be lovely to build to BANANA - build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody, but even your proposed Gatwick idea misses the point that people don't want to fly there.

Adrian Windisch said...

Gideon, parts of London not currently under the flight path will be if there is a third runway.

There are many parts of the country that want more develpment, Heathrow doesn't. The London Assembly oppose it. Local authorities representing two million people have formed a new environmental lobby group a cross-party alliance called 2M.

Councils attending the inaugural meeting included the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and Wandsworth. Authorities outside London included Slough, South Bucks, Spelthorne and Windsor and Maidenhead.