Vast third runway costs better spent elsewhere

Paul Groves

Paul Groves

In the context of the general election, thank you for your interview with the Prime Minister. Then, and at the hustings, she said that jobs in the borough depend on Heathrow, and the Government will ensure a night flight ban for six-and-a-half hours.

 However, this does not address the real issues of existing and increased noise and pollution from an additional 260,000 daytime flights per annum, 54 per cent more than at present. Unless you live in Holyport or Fifield, people don't experience this much at present but with a third runway to the north of the existing two, Maidonians will be very much afflicted in future.

We must also consider climate change, the future of the earth and our children, on which Client Earth are challenging the Government successfully so far at the Supreme Court.

For natural sleep, a night flight ban must be eight hours and must include 'unscheduled' flights which are conveniently omitted and so continue.

Ten thousand people already die early in London every year due to pollution, and the low lying Thames Valley with our naturally damp winter environment just adds to the bronchial and pollution issue. For these reasons, Mrs May was right to strongly oppose the previous plans for a third runway, including wanting a cap on additional flights of 125,000 per annum – less than half the current plan.

Regarding jobs, there is no proposal for Heathrow to go away, so jobs will continue. Promises by the airport for new jobs are largely a myth. Their motivation is not to create jobs or business for Britain, but to increase the huge dividends paid to foreign investors.

The Department for Transport’s own ‘Review and Sensitivities report’ last October, shows that after costs for construction the ‘net benefit’ to the country is only £0.2bn to £6.1bn to be divided by 60 years.

This amounts to a negligible 0.005 per cent of the economy, or a contribution of just £1.30, or a cup of tea, per passenger!

Although not naturally a Lib Dem supporter, at the recent hustings Tony Hill was right. Much better to develop regional facilities rather than, as Heathrow wants, to have passengers and cargo travelling down and across the country to fly to and from foreign destinations, creating more pollution and congestion.

This will also relieve pressure and create more flexibility at Heathrow. Regional airports already have many of the required routes and are developing more. Also this avoids the huge approximately £30bn costs of construction and infrastructure.

Those huge costs are better spent on the NHS, social care and education, so a 'win-win'. 

Paul Groves

Tithe Barn Drive


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