Friday, February 02, 2007

Heathrow Airport and 3rd runway

Earlier this week a map was published which showed that Merton would be under the potential impact of a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Currently the Borough exposure to Heathrow is fairly limited and generally confined to the northern half of the Borough and mainly over the unpopulated Wimbledon Common. Potentially the impact on the Borough would be considerable in terms of aircraft noise.

Merton is a member of the 2M which a consortium of boroughs calling for a rethink on the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow. Personally, I believe the 3rd runway will not get built as the potential envrionmental impact over a huge swathe of London would be great and given the location of Heathrow surrounded by a residential areas it would have a huge impact on many areas including Merton. Likewise it would also require the demolition of a number of homes to make way for the runway.

I also believe that Airports contribute a great deal to the economy and with five London airports we have the largest number of passengers using out combined airports out of any city in the world. The expansion of low cost airlines has fuelled demand further and given that the price of flights has dropped considerably in real terms over the past few years, many more are now flying to destinations across the globe.

Having travelled out of Heathrow on many occasions, it is clear that the airport is at full capacity and given the regular delays at the airport the situation shows no sign of improving. With other airports also running at near of full capacity we do need more runway capacity and choices do needs to be made. While I believe it was right to build Terminal 5 at Heathrow it is clear that further expansion is needed.

My personal choice is expanding Stanstead, OK the residents surrounding the airport will be up in arms but in terms of population impact on aircraft noise it would be considerably less. The airport has also considerably more expansion space around the airport then Heathrow. I also believe that Luton Airport should have a second runway and be expanded as like Stanstead the flight path affects a fraction of the people affected by Heathrow. Gatwick should be another option given that it is the busiest single runway airport in the world though a planning restriction till 2020 rules that option out for a number of year.

Long-term we do need to deliver extra runway space if we are to keep up with our competitors, however Heathrow is not the solution to our airport capacity issues or the easy way out.

PS - I'm not under the Heathrow flight path!


Anonymous TRURO ACTIVIST said...

Martin ,you posted a very wise blog about Sarah Newton after she was selected as Tory PPC for Truro and Falmouth.
Since then your observations have been proved right as she is making an absolute arse as a PPC. The local Tories are up in arms about her lack of interest and her dismal campaigning skills.One person has said she has already rolled over and given up.
A book has already been written about her by frustrated local bloggers on in the Truro and Falmouth File.

9:26 pm  

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