Boris on the absolute madness of Heathrow expansion

January 18, 2009 at 6:40 am | Posted in Heathrow | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, was interviewed on the Andrew Marr show this Sunday morning, 18 January 2009. (Thanks to Richard S for the tip.)

In the BBC iPlayer video clip shown under the title Boris on Heathrow ‘madness’ Boris makes it clear he thinks giving the go-ahead for the Third Runway at Heathrow is

“a completely foolish Government decision. This is *not* the right project for London.
Heathrow airport is basically a planning error of the 1940s. We’re *mad* to be intensifying that error by greatly increasing the number of flights over London.”

Backtracking to last Thursday, 15 January 2009, the Greater London Authority published this:

Press Release

Statement from the Mayor on Heathrow expansion

15-1-2009 024

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘This is a truly devastating blow for millions of Londoners whose lives are now set to be blighted by massive increases in air pollution and noise.

‘The Government has singularly failed to deliver a convincing case for expansion throughout or adequate solutions for the nightmare problems this would cause.

‘No amount of sweeteners in the shape of transport infrastructure will fundamentally alter the fact that the Government is hell-bent on exacerbating a planning error of the 1940s and that Heathrow is not fit for purpose.

‘I am deeply concerned that the proper processes of coming to this decision may not have been followed, and will support a legal challenge should this prove to be the case. To this end we are currently considering today’s announcement in detail.

‘Today I throw down the gauntlet to Gordon Brown to publicly defend this deeply undemocratic decision on the 21 January at my People’s Question Time in Hillingdon a community that is being asked to live with its consequences. There has never been a proper public debate on this issue and now the Government has decided to proceed, there clearly has to be.’



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  1. Totally against the expansion. It’s Greed not Need. All this about Heathrow being a hub airport is madness. London is served by 5 major airports with more than enough flights from all over the world being abled to be catered for. This is just BAA wanting control as they are being forced to lose some airports, again it’s GREED NOT NEED!!!

  2. Hello BG,
    I agree, there is no need for more flights. Flight numbers are in decline, and I expect passenger numbers to drop further as the financial meltdown gathers pace. There’s a long way to go yet … in fact, on 12 December 2008, Kevin Done reported in the FT Air passenger numbers drop 8.9% from which I quote:

    “Passenger numbers at BAA’s seven UK airports fell by 8.9 per cent in November year-on-year from 10.8m to 9.8m – by far the steepest such annual decline since traffic began to weaken in April. The pace of the drop has been accelerating since September.
    As well as passenger numbers at the airports, the volume of flights moving through UK airspace is in sharp decline as airlines cut their schedules and ground aircraft to try to bring capacity more into line with falling demand for air travel.”

    Also, your point about the number of airports is well taken. How many runways does London have in total? Does any other world capital city have more than five major airports serving its needs?
    Lastly, the idea of a hub went out years ago in communications networks—and I don’t understand why 21st century transport infrastructure should be so outmoded compared with 20th century telecomms! If resilience is required in a network, single points of failure that can bring the (entire) network down need to be eliminated, not enlarged. Expanding Heathrow guarantees a larger impact from a single hub failure, whether caused by natural conditions (fog) or manmade disasters (airplane accidentally landing on M4 instead of third runway, or deliberate act of terrorism).

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