Completely gutless

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Heathrow Terminal 3; to expand at Heathrow or not?

Heathrow Terminal 3; to expand at Heathrow or not?

Those were the words used by John Longworth of the British Chambers of Commerce to describe the government’s decision to put off making a decision on additional airport capacity in the south east of England.

This language is blunter than business bodies usually use and much stronger than the adjectives used by the CBI. Both pale in comparison with the words used by the householders that live in Harmondsworth which would be removed from the map should a third runway option at Heathrow be given the go-ahead.

Yet when interviewed by Naga Munchetti on BBC Breakfast this morning Mr Longworth was all bluster. He said the delay was costing British industry he was asked – twice – how much. He had no answer. Is this the level of debate we now have? We ave had claim and counter-claim, accusations of false advertising and scaremongering plus bluster. Cold, clear interpretation is what has been missing.

Indecision is the main charge that could be levied against the government. But why? Ostensibly that decision is to allow the government to consider the environmental issues which the Davies Commission highlighted in its report. The government says that this extra time for consideration is needed so that legal action against any decision would stand less chance of success in delaying whatever is decided. Cynics say that it just removes the decision until after the London mayoral race. Zac Goldmsith , the Tory candidate is vehemently opposed and said he would resign his House of Commons seat if a decision to expand Heathrow went ahead. Two other senior MP’s, Boris Johnstone – the current mayor of London – and Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary are also strongly opposed. The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond is also said by some to be lukewarm about Heathrow expansion.

But what about us, the traveller? What is our view? It is hard to understand what that is since most polls have been conducted by either proponents or critics of the three options. Cynic that I am, I am not sure that I believe any poll commissioned by parties connected to either side.

It seems that this debate has been going on since Croydon Airport was closed. Governments of any political persuasion have dodged the problem. Suggesting that airports outside the south east of England can expand fails to take into account that the population requiring the additional expansion is in the south east not the midlands, not the north east or elsewhere.

Whatever decision that will be made will be unpopular except, perhaps, with travellers. But will we have to wait another lifetime for an answer?

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