Monday, 25 June 2018

Third London runway has dogged my whole working life

I first joined the Civil Service in 1971 the third London airport project was already started. It has remained a project for almost 50 years a monument to how long our political elite can kick a can down the road and defer/avoid difficult decisions. Judging from the Huq MP comments this morning we are still no where near the end of the road. Judicial reviews etc will continue ad nauseam and trade and traffic will trickle away from Heathrow to Paris, Schipol, Frankfurt etc.

Its a salutary warning about what will happen to Brexit if  MPs are put in charge. Brexit  would never happen.Asking MPs to make decisions that might damage their vote is like asking Turkeys to vote for Xmas. It won't happen.

I can recall pretty well what I wrote in 72/73. Heathrow is pretty well in the best location for access from the rest of the UK. Gatwick is not. It is difficult to get to other than from the South coast. Stansted is also difficult to get to from many parts of the UK.

The only other solution involves a radical re-location of Government facilities out of London like Parliament and government depts like HMT.

I don't expect work to start on the third Heathrow runway in my lifetime. Most people think Maplin Sands was a Hi de Hi holiday camp not a failed third London airport plan. 


Stephen Harness said...

I use Shipol because I can connect to it from the north east and I cannot connect to Heathrow. 6 runways is very impressive. Strategic decisions about UK airports should have been taken decades ago and do become more difficult to make as time goes by. Opportunities have been missed and the third runway at Heathrow may well never be built.

L fairfax said...

Why not make Luton bigger? Surely that would be better for the North and Midlands than Heathrow?
(It might have less problems with fog).
Sadly I think unless you live a very long time you will not see it built in your lifetime.

Anonymous said...

It is said one wouldn’t put Heathrow where it is if starting again so why compound the error with all the added noise and air pollution etc. over London which I suffered for years when working there.

This once veg patch seemed like a good idea at the time all those decades ago and without the foresight it has become congested now by the very nature of the necessary access and local support infrastructure.

How long before there is a need for a fourth or more runways as the third will soon become fully utilised if not already in anticipation. Judging by the time the length of time it has taken to get where we are the problem may have been solved. How much oil do we have left?

Eric Edmond said...

I agree with Mr Fairfax. I will be long dead before BoJo has a bulldozer to lie down in front of.

For Anon, my main objection to Heathrow was a flight path over central London. Someday a terrorist will blow up a plane on this approach.

Those who bought houses there in the last 50+ years did so knowing Heathrow is where it was.
Local Authorities however should have not granted building permission for more houses in this area from 1970 onwards but greedy Tory landowners prevailed. as always