It’s making national headlines. Again. Boris is not a fan. Zac’s really not a fan. Justine wasn’t a fan and so whoops, she got the heave-ho. And of course the Lib Dems and “our” Vince are not fans either. They aren’t, but it looks like Cam and Ozzy are. But what do we know?
The option for a third runway at Heathrow is back in the news and Patrick McLoughlin, the new Transport Secretary, is regarded as a lot more amenable to the idea than Justine Greening, the old one. Well, we say ‘old’ but we mean the one who was doing the job until a couple of days ago. A third runway was ruled out at the time of the election. It’s not a vote winner. The business folk in favour only have one vote each at election time (we hope), but so do the runway’s opponents, and they’re more numerous.
The business types want more capacity and more flights so they can ‘do business’ with trading partners around the world, especially in the far east. What’s that? So Skype or Face Time is not good enough for you, eh? Ensuring London remains a leading international city requires a world class airport hub, they say. They’re probably right. Meanwhile environmentalists and many locals are strongly opposed to the idea. Well they would be wouldn’t they? Why here, why now and what about ideas for reducing travel rather than promoting it, they say. Also true. Add to that lot those who think that adding a third runway to the jumble of Heathrow will be worse than expanding elsewhere or building a proper 21st century airport hub for London from scratch and we’ve got a right old mixture.
Professional brain-box Sir Howard Davies has now been appointed to conduct a review into airport capacity. It will report back in 2015. That’s after the next election. Funny dat. With the election outcome less than certain, the whole thing could just be an academic exercise but whatever Davies comes up with, it’s sure to be loved by some and vehemently opposed by others.
Do we need Heathrow’s expansion to secure economic growth for the UK? Or do we need more capacity but only if it’s anywhere but here. Or do we take one for the team and happily wave at more planes filling the skies over west London? The third runway? To be, or not to be? Or rather, nimby or not nimby, that is the question? And we now know that it’s a question that will continue to run for at least another 3 years.