Its Heathrow. Maybe…

By | Category: Travel news
queues at Heathrow

Heathrow – the political scramble starts…

The release today if the report by the Davies commission on airport expansion in the south east of England has come down firmly in favour of Heathrow expansion.

But it comes with caveats that must be followed so will the third runway ever be built there? Not if you believe the Telegraph this morning which says that David Cameron will reject the proposal and there are strong political reasons for him to do so. At least five cabinet ministers are opposed to it as are Boris Johnson, the London mayor and Zac Goldsmith who will probably be the Tory front runner to be mayor.

On television this morning and coming across more like political opponents anxious to score every political point and evading toughish questions as politicians do were the two rival chief executives of Heathrow and Gatwick. With media savvy adroitness both argued their own case whilst slating that of their opponents. Boris strode in proclaiming that it would never happen as he wiped the sweat from his face at least twice. Was this the heat from the questioning, (absolutely not) the heat of the day (more likely) or the heat caused by the realisation that the Tories were about to enter some serious infighting as they try to find a politically acceptable solution that wouldn’t hack off industry or voters too much.

After three years and £20 million, the government has a report that it will have to make a decision about in the next three months. Probably. They can accept expansion at Heathrow and maybe the resignation of some cabinet ministers and MP’s; they can opt for Gatwick and annoy fewer MP’s but maybe more natural Tory voters or they can try and kick the whole report into the long grass in the hope that it will never be seen again. On the face of it the last option is the most unlikely because it has happened too many times before but you could argue that the report is to short-sighted. It looks at what is required up to 20130 – just fifteen years away and the additional runway might not be completed by then due to legal objections. You could argue that we should be looking at airport usage over the next 50 years not 15 and that is why the report should be rejected.

I’ve yet to read the 340 plus page report; if you want to, click here.

Why do the arguments this morning sound more like the beginning of a campaign rather than the decisive end of one?

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