The government and Heathrow

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Heathrow Terminal 3

At the last election both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats said no to a third runway at Heathrow. Boris said that it would be built over his dead body. Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, campaigned against it and her constituency sits under the flight path. Now stories in the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph suggest the government is having a rethink.
The air transport lobby has been trumpeting economic disaster for the UK if Heathrow wasn’t expanded. Studies have come forth suggesting “something must be done.”
But why Heathrow? The thought that RAF Northolt could be used is a bit fanciful. Why not look at Farnborough in Hampshire where the Air show is held?
What credibility would the government have if it changed its mind? Could you ever trust their word again? Having said that, most people who live near Heathrow will have moved there during the life of the airport (after all it has been London’s major airport for getting on for 60 years) so knew what they were letting themselves in for.
So unless the government wishes to lose the next election ( affected constituencies will predominantly be Tory and Lib Dem ones) these current stories may be wide of the mark. Gatwick has opportunities for growth within its existing facilities despite the legal ruling that a second runway can’t be built before 2019, so why do these lobbyists assume that the air situation in the south east can only be solved by expanding Heathrow?
Ask people who travel via Heathrow and there aren’t many good things to be said for it. Airlines like it, people don’t. Gatwick has connections just as good and is a short term option. At the moment short-term solutions are required. Long-term a better solution is needed like a new 21st century airport all together. But then what brave government will make that decision?

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