No Third Runway at Heathrow

Like all parents, I morph into a second-rate, unpaid chauffeur at the weekends, and on Sunday I copped the ultimate horror: a trip to the airport. The nearer we got to Heathrow, the thicker the traffic became.

We inched down the A312 and at every traffic light I became more and more nervous that we would miss the flight, so that, by the time we came to the drop-off zone outside terminal three, I had to bundle the kid in the general direction of departures while fending off two separate officials who were taking down the details of my car.

By the time I had crawled back to London through the winking lava flow of brake lights, the whole enterprise had blown three-and-a-half hours out of the day of rest, and as I slumped on the sofa I reached for the Sunday papers in the faint hope that someone somewhere had something sensible to say; and, within seconds, I am pleased to say that my spirits soared.

There was an interview with Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, and blow me down, he was talking the most tremendous good sense. There was a problem with the traffic around Heathrow, said Benn the Younger, and until that problem was sorted out he doubted very much that we should build the third runway. Yo, Benn baby! I cried. You tell ’em.

Benn’s objection to the third runway is that the extra planes and cars will exacerbate the already serious problem of air quality in the vicinity of Heathrow. He points out that we are likely to be in breach of EU rules before the third runway is even built; and in my view, of course, Mr Benn understates the objections.

Already the new Transport Secretary, Geoff Hoon, is showing great wisdom in postponing the decision until January, while he considers the full scale of the problem.

I don’t propose to comment on the threat to marginal Labour seats in London, since that is a party‑political question about which it is possible to have mixed feelings. But we can all surely agree that it makes little sense to entrench a colossal planning error of the 1940s by expanding Heathrow in a way that will have all sorts of damaging impacts on the capital and the lives of its citizens.

There is the loss of hundreds of houses in the ancient village of Sipson, whose Norman church will be all but engulfed by the proposed 2,400-yard runway. There are the points well made by the Environment Secretary, about the considerable increase in CO2 and in particulates. There is the increase in road traffic, and the frustration of the kind I experienced on Sunday.

But above all, when you increase the number of flights by about 50 per cent – from 470,000 a year to about 700,000 – you vastly increase the noise pollution over London.

I am writing this at 11.20pm on Sunday night in Highbury, north London, which is not normally thought of as being under the flightpath, and I promise I have just heard a flight go over. It was audible, though the windows vibrated only mildly.

What will it be like when that plane starts to descend over west London and the wind starts howling through the wheels? And what will north London be like if they are ever so mad as to build a third runway?

The map indicates that Harrow, Camden, Islington, Enfield will all be on the itinerary for planes using the new runway – in other words, that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Londoners stand to be affected in a way that the builders of Heathrow never imagined, while the auditory sufferings of west London will be intensified.

I am a capitalist, a free-marketer, a believer in air travel, but I simply cannot believe that the endless expansion of Heathrow is the right thing for London or for Britain. Why are we the only major country to direct aviation traffic straight over our principal conurbation?

Surely Bob Ayling, the former chief executive of BA, is right when he says that it is senseless to keep expanding the transit market at Heathrow, when these passengers are en route to somewhere else and scarcely invest a cup of tea in Britain.

If we want to compete with Amsterdam or Paris for the transfer passenger market then there must be a better solution, and that solution requires boldness and vision. The Conservative Party has come up with some interesting plans for high-speed rail links into Heathrow, to obviate the need for so many domestic flights within the United Kingdom.

High-speed rail should certainly be part of the mix, but it is not enough on its own. The reality is that this recession will end, and when it ends we need to be able to compete in the long term with other capitals whose main airports have four, five or even six runways. Whether we like it or not, the people of this country will continue to want to use kerosene-fuelled jet engines to get up in the air and travel long distances.

That is why south-eastern councils and the London authorities have decided to look again at all the options, around London, that could save us from the mistake of expanding Heathrow. They include making better use of existing assets, not least Manston, which has the longest runway in the country.

But I believe we should also be brave and consider what could be a beautiful and long-term solution, and one with big environmental attractions. I don’t mean Cliffe, or Foulness or Maplin Sands. There are plenty of people – an increasing number of passionate enthusiasts – who believe we can find a site in the Thames Estuary that presents a minimal threat to bird life, or north Kent marginal seats, and which is nowhere near an unexploded munitions ship, and that could be connected to London by high-speed rail.

We should at least look at this option; and it’s no use protesting that “it’s never going to happen”. That is an extremely weak objection, and one that was made for centuries against aviation itself.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph on 16 December 2008 under the heading: “Benn the Younger talks sense: no third runway at Heathrow.”]

89 thoughts on “No Third Runway at Heathrow”

  1. Off topic – I watched a prog on Channel 4 last night that is required viewing for all. Please take a look at it here:

    It presents the memories of three very brave men who recount child abuse by teachers at their public school. (I think the Lib-Dem leader, Nick Clegg, might be an old boy) This prog raises a number of issues but the most important is the fact that peadophiles are just like anyone. They are charming and nice and, of course, are good with children.

    The point not raised in the prog is that the problem is not confined to public schools. Most rapists of either sex and of any age are known to their victims and in a position of trust. I’m not suggesting peado-hysteria but what I am highlighting here is that peadophiles and rapists don’t have a dress code. They don’t have tattoos marking them with a 666. And while false accusations have sometimes been made so many more true accusations haven’t been able to be made. Because no-one wants to know about this subject. They make the genuine victim feel guilty for even talking about this subject.

    Well done those men for speaking out. I admire their courage.

  2. Boris and Hilary Benn – there’s a combination to be reckoned with. Of course Heathrow is overcrowded: when weather conditions are ‘right’ (=wrong), this is proved by aeroplanes doing banked turns at 5am right over the garden that is officially not on a flightpath. Yet if they build a third runway at Heathrow, where are they going to find sufficient security staff, caterers, check-in people etc for all the extra traffic? How are the workers going to afford housing and land transport? How are the roads going to cope with the extra staff, never mind the extra passengers? As more planes come in from Europe and Asia, yet more will be flying right over London – which may give visitors a postcard view of the city but can hardly be ideal from a safety point of view.

    Whether Manston or an artificial island in the Channel is chosen, far better to have greater capacity to the (south)east of the city.

  3. Theresa did very well to link the High-Speed Rail and airport capacity. The effect of a High Speed Line would be to move Birmingham International Airport closer in time terms to much of Central London than Heathrow. This is an extra runway for London without having to build one.

    Of course, why BA and BAA are worried is that it has been known since the 1960s that a single large airport in the Midlands with adequate land connections would result in such economies of scale for the long-haul airlines using it that BA’s Heathrow-plus-Ringway model would be increasingly obsolescent.

    Heathrow has been likened by the Economist magazine to Kai Tak. Its closure (and redevelopment for relief of London’s housing shortage) has to be the long-term objective. I am not convinced that a Thames Estuary site is best, but you are right that it has to be considered alongside other options, including the conventional ones of expanding Gatwick and Birmingham International.

  4. “… peadophiles are just like anyone. They are charming and nice and, of course, are good with children” (Jaq)

    If you’re interested in the criminology of child sex offenders do a ‘google’ search for ‘wikisposure’, it’s a website created by the US vigilante group ‘Perverted Justice’ for exposing paedophiles. It makes harrowing reading, a lot of these people actually believe that both they and the children they abuse are the victims of unjust sexual offences and age of consent laws!

    Back on topic, I don’t have much to say about Heathrow, but I like the idea of high-speed rail links between our major cities and a feasibility study into a Thames Estuary airport strikes me as a good idea.

  5. I like the idea of high speed rail links between our major cities as well and a feasibility study into the Thames Estuary airport does seem a good idea.

    I’m glad that Hilary Benn’s ideas have struck Boris as worthwhile, if only because it is reassuring to be able to believe that there is one Labour Minister who is not a total doofus.

  6. As people become more enlightened, I wonder if there will eventually be a Minister for Psychic Phenomena and UFO’s, whose responsibility it is to negotiate with visiting aliens. I could do that job.

  7. ps. specially if they all look like Keanu Reeves. In THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL, he has the most perfect, dewy, moist complexion, absolutely flawless, in fact it is nearly as good as David Cameron’s complexion. Maybe they both use the same face cream. Keanu also has perfect lips, like rose petals. Heathrow is interesting as well.

  8. I live near Camden. Sheesh, does this mean we will get unbearable noise, pollution and crashing property prices?


    According to The Times, see above link, Gordon brown intends to overrule his ministers on the question of the Heathrow runway. “He has powerful backers in Lord Mandelson and Geoff Hoon, who became Transport Secretary in the October reshuffle”.

    According to an insider, this is now “policy” and there is no chance of a U turn, in spite of concerns about environmental objectives.

    Hilary Benn might resign if the runway goes ahead. He said there would be serious consequences if we failed to meet our EU environmental objectives.

    Although many people have objected, it doesn’t sound too hopeful, does it?

  10. It is an absolutely disastrous idea, but since when has that ever stopped the government doing anything?

  11. In light of the ‘credit crunch’ have the number of flights not decreased? Furthermore, aren’t things supposed to be getting worse?

  12. I hate the idea of another runway at Heathrow. The pollution will be terrible – what is the point of having EU targets and obligations if we are just going to ignore them?And i agree with Boris, there will be horrible effects for North London and anywhere in the new flight path.

  13. “If we want to compete with Amsterdam or Paris for the transfer passenger market then there must be a better solution, and that solution requires boldness and vision.”

    Two qualities that the Labour party doesn’t have.

  14. Always upbeat, the Mayor was reported as saying today that one good thing about the state of the pound is that London is a marvellous bargain for tourists at the moment.

    Hopefully, they will all be flocking to London for their holidays and shopping, and businesses will be benefitted that way.

    The Mayor was releasing a statement about how he is going to help business in London. I only caught the end of the statement, but there is going to be a website and ever thrifty, the Mayor is going to utilise funds we already have, rather than charge Londoners more. Boris is excellently thrifty with our money, and I also heard that he intends to freeze council tax, although fares are unavoidably set to rise by 6%.

    There is no way Boris is intending to fling the money of Londoners around wastefully, he always has an eye to balancing the budget and that thought is extremely reassuring.

  15. The idea of a third runway at Heathrow is extremely worrying and I am convinced this will be a huge mistake. In answer to Nina’s point that the number of people travelling is reduced because less people are travelling by air because of the credit crunch, this is of course true.

    However this state of affairs will not last for ever. Even if the recession lasts for as long as five years, the runway will be there for decades, with all the attendant problems of pollution, the noise, the affect on house prices for properties in the flight paths…. it doesn’t bear thinking about.

  16. At least Hillary Benn has the honesty and the bottle to speak up against the government on this.

  17. Heathrow 3rd runway – ridiculous. By the time it is ready, most people will be too skint to fly anywhere. Manston is a good idea, or off the coast off Essex, not necessary off Grain. Remember concrete technology of WW2, Mulberry harbours, and build on that. Richard.

  18. Londoners have special relationships with Oxford particularly for all the thinking and measurments that went behind reviving London once more from total RUIN in 1666 after the big fire of London! Robert Hooke was and always will be the greatest scientists of all times!His microscope was first hand made instrument of the kind in the world!
    He together with Sir Christopher Wren brought everything to gether from total destruction, while everyone was lost in disappointment. Sir Wren had even greatest plans for London that was possible due to financial limitation.

    there is still time to listen again to Sir Melvyn Bragg The fire of London on BBC4 – In Our Time!

    The Monument to the Great Fire of London of 1666 was jointly the work of Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke (The man who measured London, Jardin).

  19. Consultant, that sounds very interesting. I must check out what happened after the Fire of London and how London was revived from 1666 onwards, and I am sure there are lessons to be learnt, thanks so much for what you wrote.

  20. Jaq, briefly off the message of Heathrow, who do you fancy to win SCD? I want Brendan and Lisa to win, I love Lisa, she is so lively and funny. I don’t care if they mess up the voting procedures, because it is sort of funny the way the BBC keep getting it wrong and then everyone goes mad.

    I hope that people will make their strong views about the third runway known to the government, I know that various organisations are campaigning against the third runway.

  21. Boris has all the attributes to become Prime Minister. How long before the rest of the party realise their error of promoting Cameron!

  22. Angela – I haven’t watched the prog since John Sergeant left. So sorry, haven’t really got an opinion to share on that.

    Agree with you about the runway though.

    Mel – I am a fool; I posted a ‘Happy Christmas’ to and on the blog of HWMNBN. Why? Well because I meant those good wishes. Tis the season to be jolly. Isn’t it?

    Merry Christmas to Angela, Gill, BJ Office, StevenL, Vicus and all of you. Wishing you peace and hope this season.

    And Merry Christmas to Boris Johnson, you sexy minx xx

  23. Jaq… it might have seemed laughable at the time, but just remember what I told you about the timely conjunction of certain planets and we all have our moment and you can be assured of that! I am startled to discover you were so fond of JS so sincerely apologise for my cheeky comments about him, which were only a joke!

    One of Boris’s most admirable attributes as Mayor is his sincere and touching desire to save Londoners money. This is as commendable as it is unusual in a public figure. Usually, drunk with power,and on the ego trip of a lifetime because of their newly acquired status, they (a) provide jobs for their live in lovers and girl friends (Ken), (b)start using the royal jet even more than the Queen does (David Milliband), (c) make trips to visit Hugo Chavez at the cost of the tax payer (Ken), use government cars on any and every occasion, including the cleaner doing the shopping (Michael Martin, Speaker of the House) and on and on.

    I shoud be surprised to learn that the Mayor has sneaked so much as an illicit bacon sarnie, such is his ethical principle and his devotion to his role. THANK YOU BORIS.

  24. Angela – no worries. I know you’ll understand that if one supports a public figure people can sometimes guess some crush as motivation. When this is not necesarily the case. Honestly, it’s quite insulting sometimes that people assume an intelligent woman can’t support a male public figure for all the right reasons 😉 With John Sergeant I found him hugely entertaining and liked the fact that he was a normal chap on the prog, not a professional athlete or stage school product. Just a normal bloke. And of course my support of Peter Hitchens and Boris Johnson is not least due to their professional talents. What stands out for me is Peter’s foreign correspondant stuff, it’s excellent IMHO and Boris has proven his worth as both Mayor and broadcaster. Both have been personally supportive and I will always be grateful.

    You see, Boris is accesible to all, I’ve found. Other politicians will communicate only with your vote, otherwise you don’t exist. Not Boris. He really should be PM.

  25. When the job of Minister for Psychic Phenomena and UFOs is created, I shall immediately apply. When I become Minister, I shall then offer Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown to the aliens for research purposes. I understand these involve a lot of metal probes in very sensitive places. In fairness to the aliens, I will explain that PM and GB are not exactly typical specimens of the human race, in fact they are possibly mutants or a newer type of android.

  26. Jaq, did you read in today’s popular press that when asked which of the three party leaders women would choose to snog under the mistletoe, an overwhelming 54% voted for David Cameron? 30% voted for Nick Cleggover and the remaining 14% voted for Gordon Brown. My only thought was, who are these 16% and what traumas have they endured that they would submit to such a ghastly experience?


    97 MPs are demanding a Parliamentary vote on expansion at Heathrow we are told in today’s Standard.

    “Gordon Brown today faced the prospect of a humiliating Commons defeat over a third runway at Heathrow. 41 rebel Labour MPs joined forces to demand a vote in Parliament on expansion at the airport”

    HIP HIP HOORAY! not particularly because of a humiliating defeat for the PM, but because the third runway is such a bad idea and it is great to know that there is still enough life in some Labour MPs so that they dare make a stand like this. I thought Gordon and his bullies had bled all the fight out of them like some Scots version of Count Dracula.

  28. Angela – lol! Personally I wouldn’t want to kiss any of them although when I was younger… at Christmas… under the mistletoe… it would have to be… well not Gordon Brown that’s for sure. Whatever my politics a man eating his own bogeys is a no-no!

    Wiki: “”According to a custom of Christmas cheer, any two people who meet under a hanging of mistletoe are obliged to kiss. The custom is Scandinavian in origin. It was the plant of peace in Scandinavian antiquity. If enemies met by chance beneath it in a forest, they laid down their arms and maintained a truce until the next day.” This ancient Scandinavian custom led to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe”

    Which brings me to something that started out with such happy promise but ended badly. It has been said that David Cameron is just a blue rinsed Tony Bliar and Angela, I thought you might be interested to hear that debate, here:
    One of the speakers is Jesse Norman. And I’m sorry to mention the Bliar creature but Jesse is right – we don’t need another government that is all spin and presentation.

    Angela – how many would have snogged Winston Churchill do you think?

    Gordon Brown today faced the prospect of a humiliating Commons defeat over a third runway at Heathrow


  29. Jaq as always you raise some interesting points. i wouldn’t like to snog any of them either. I have never, ever seen any resemblance between Cameron and Tony Blair. The country went gaga for Blair when he first becqme PM, but I didn’t like or trust him then and I don’t now. I thought he was horrible, false, smarmy and easily led and history has certainly proved me right.

    As you know, I have total faith in David Cameron as Leader of the Tories, he is extremely clever, he knows how to grab the iniative, and he is going to win the election, when Gordon finally calls it.

    As I was explaining to Ron in the forum, Cameron is in a tricky position at the moment. I am sure he has plenty of brilliant ideas on how to handle the countries’ problems, but why should he reveal those now, when all that would happen is Gordon would undoubtedly pinch them all?

    Cameron is having to bide his time and wait for his moment. That is a hard thing to do, but it is the right thing, and when his moment comes, he will not disappoint us. Don’t pay too much attention to this Jesse Norman. I have always been amazed how dumb some of these so called intelligent people can be. When Boris first ran for London Mayor, I was blogging in the Coffee House of the Spectator.

    Practically all of the other bloggers said that Ken would beat him hollow. There was only one other man and me who gave Boris even the slightest chance of winning, whereas I was absolutely positive he would win.

    People should have more faith in David Cameron and realise that he has to play a waiting game now, but when his time comes, he will win and he will win decisively.

  30. ps. There were probably some ladies prepared to give Winston a cuddle. Females used to throw themselves at the Duke of Wellington, particularly after he won Waterloo, but even before that, he was never short of female attention.

    It has always amused me that after defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, he then had to defeat him in the bedroom. He convincingly seduced two of Nappoleon’s mistresses, who rated him higher than Napoleon. This is so male isn’t it, they have to win in all arenas.

  31. There is going to be some huge demo. at Heathrow against the third runway and the demonstrators want to shut the airport for a day. Gordon has bitten off far more than he can chew here. He just can’t get away with saying it is going to happen and it is policy.

  32. Apparently Harriet Harman and David Milliband also have doubts about the third runway. so the Cabinet is split. The doubters include Ed Milliband, David Milliband, HH, and Hilary Benn.

    Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson have signalled their backing for the runway.

  33. My unrequited crush and the person I would snog under the mistletoe is of course, the Duke of Wellington.

  34. Angela – many thanks for the info and it’s good, I think, that MP’s voice their doubts if theyhave them. There is too much ‘for the good of the party’ amd not enough ‘for the good of the people’.

    Please give Jesse Norman a 2nd look – I would wholeheartedly recommend him. Apart from being a splendid chap he’s a very bright bunny and has some very good and pertinent things to say. I’m confident he would be a good MP. Please, if you can find time, Angela, listen to his bit on the link I gave – he’s 4th to speak after PH. Indeed Peter Hitchens makes a point worth listening to so I recommend his bit as well. I think he makes a very good point about tribal voting and the electorate feeling disenfrachised so those that do vote may give a false impression of success. In other words if you win the elction with only 28ish% of the vote, as Labour has done, that’s not a success really.

    Peter also makes a good point about the Tory party being a ghost brand. And Jesse addresses Peter’s points somewhat in his bit – Jesse Norman is actually speaking in defence of David Cameron.

    This is so male isn’t it, they have to win in all arenas oh absolutely.


    When I was younger, and all the other girlies were choosing between David Cassidy and Donny Osmond, my “unrequited crush and the person I would snog under the mistletoe” was, of course, the Duke of Westminster. My goodness he was so handsome. Le Sigh.

  35. for a good NY Resolution for everyone, could I urge that people give up taking plastic bags from stores? Plastic bags are usually only used once for about 30 minutes and they can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, we are choking the planet with the ruddy things.

    It is so easy to bring your own shopping bags when you shop and you will be saving the lives of birds who often swallow the plastic and choke. WE NEED TO BE MORE CAREFUL ABOUT SAFEGUARDING OUR PLANET.

    Please please everyone do something very worthwhile and give up using plastic bags FOR GOOD.

  36. He may be alive but goodness knows what I saw in the man?? I put it down to teenage rebellion. I certainly wouldn’t kiss him now. I doubt if I’d have kissed him then, I was only 10 years old. But details of his dashing life were in the news. I’ve always had poor taste in men. I did rather fancy Errol Flynn too.

    The original of the film you mention is one of my fave films of all time, that’s why I’m recticent to see it – it’s been slated by critics. If it’s all about climate change I think I’ll give it a miss, much as I like Keanu Reeves. And his bottom.

  37. It’s not just about climate change, and there are loads of funny bits and droll situations, as well as serious messages. I have just bought the original 1951 version with Michael Rennie to compare. Not all the critics disliked it, the Times critic says its great, as do several others. It is the most popular film in the US at the moment, and also over here.

    If you liked Keanu in THE MATRIX, you will like this and he is certainly a better choice for an alien than Michael Rennie. The special effects are fantastic. Don’t take any notice of any negative critics, I never do. I never ever judge a film on what the critics say, many of them are just too stupid to appreciate subtlety or anything the slightest bit different. They have slated so many brilliantly iconic films, because they did not understand them. The critics are absolute doofuses. Look at the reception accorded to BLADE RUNNER! Look what they said about BARRY LYNDON!

  38. Not that a film being popular is any sign of it being a good film either. Both TITANNIC and MAMMA MIA are absolutely awful films and they are the best selling films of all time so far. On the other hand, THE DARK KNIGHT is a tour de force, and that is the third best selling film of all time. THE GODFATHER was slated by critics (too dark, too miserable, too complicated) until the public made it a huge hit and the trilogy is Ford Coppola’s masterpiece.

    I am very opinionated about films, and I trust my own taste and refuse to be swayed by the dingbat writers who review movies, because so often they miss out on the very thing that makes the film special until years later. Then they say they saw it all along. However, James Christopher of the Times is obviously sensitive and intelligent and he says THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL is great, Keanu puts in a fantastic, hypnotic performance, and the dead pan humour is marvellous and so are the special effects. A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART.

  39. Losten to me all Londoners! don’t buy or use any more plastic bags, you are killing birds and laying up plastic waste that will not biodegrade for 1,000 years.

    Turn off lights when you don’t need them. Carefully separate and recycle your waste. Finally, kick and scream and fight not to have a third runway at Heathrow!

    If you do not do these things, an alien will visit earth to get rid of us all because we have not taken care of our planet.(also because we are aggressive and mean to each other). I shall then have to give the alien Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson for their alien research and that will mean metal probes up the kazoo for both of them. For the sake of their families and loved ones, heed this warning!

  40. Since it is Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson who are promoting the building of the third runway, they should definitely be handed over to aliens.

  41. Heathrow is like arriving at third world country,demotivated staff,poor food,dirty,been there 4 times this year from Aust its quite an unexciting experience.

  42. On a positive note, I am absolutely delighted that Boris has asked the Chief Executive of Sainsburys to be his Olympic Advisor.

    If there is one top retailer I really warm to it is Justin King. When he appears on television, he comes over exceptionally well – sensible, shrewd, hands on…. I saw a picture of him in a sales assistant’s jacket the other day, he was helping his staff with the Christmas rush. At my local Sainsburys,(Camden) the staff are exceptionally well trained and helpful. They all seem happy and work as a team. (I am nosey and notice these things.) The store is great, a huge variety of choice, a myriad options if you like cooking ethnic recipes, (they have all the spices you could need), loads of bargains, and excellent value.

    Sainsburys move with the times…. they were quick to respond to the public concern about the cruel way chickens are reared, and my local manager dealt with with my searching questions absolutely brilliantly. The girls on the tills are also very aware of the danger of too many plastic bags. Unlike some stores, they do not waste money on too much ridiculous packaging.

    Also unlike some of the other supermarkets, Sainsburys is doing well in the credit crunch and they deserve to do well. If there is one major retailer who really has his head screwed on, it is Justin King, well done Boris Johnson, a fantastic choice.

  43. Mr. King has to get clearance from his board, and the Mayor is considering several possibilities, but it is considered likely that the job will go to Justin King. (sorry, I just read the headline,on a board, now I read the article, it is not quite sure yet.)

  44. I Think to cause less traffic at heathrow there should be fast limited stop trains and buses instead and you should pay money to drive your car around heathrow. It will mean less people using cars that can hold about 5 people and about half the people using heathrow will be using buses and trains. It will save our planet!

  45. Manston is not an option. It was built in the second world war outside Ramsgate. Its flight path takes off directly over Ramsgate which is a beautiful and densely populated seaside town. When occasionally the planes fly over it is like the whole world is at an end (my house actually goes dark) the noise is unbelievable. It would be an absolute disaster for the town. Manston was deemed by the department of trade and industry in 1993 to be unfit for development because of it being so close to the town.

  46. Boris’s wisdom and personality are a joy.
    He speaks for so many of us in such an eloquent manner.

  47. Dear Boris,
    Your idea of the 3rd runway on the estuary is brilliant. But NO runway is better! Why do you encourage more flying?
    Leave flying to the birds. Encourage Brits to stay home for holidays and enjoy their beautiful country. Discourage visitors to Britain. Britain is crowded enough. Money? Britain has enough. Help save the world. No 3rd runway on the estuary!

  48. My dad always complains about having to drive me places! If you are sufferin from this problem as well I think there is only one obvious answer the driving age has to be lowered! I am 14 so it would be fab to take it down to 14, but I think 15 might be better!

    There are many Europen countrys, Asian countrys and America, that have a much lower driving level than us and a lower percentage of accidents! Also countrys without speed limits have the least trouble with RC’s.

    The explanation is obvious! By making something against the law, or something you have to wait to be allowed to do, it becomes exciting and interesting. Making it something people want to do. Because it is against the law!

    Countrys with lower drinking limits, or no limits at all have the least issues with teenage drunks and emergency stomach pumping. By making something allowed and accsesable it loses all attraction.

    Therefore the way forward is clear. Change the driving age to 15, the drinking age to 16, and remove the speed limit. It is the only way forward for the country!

    Katy Horgan DMYP

  49. The Standard seems to think that the government will go ahead with the third runway at Heathrow. TYPICAL STALINIST BEHAVIOUR, IGNORE WHAT THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE FEEL, JUST BARGE AHEAD.

  50. If the government barge ahead with the third runway, Boris is going to lead the legal fight to stop it. BRILLIANT.

  51. No No the 3rd runway would add to the polution we receive .The noise from the m4 is getting more and more,and a 3rd runway would make things even worse.

  52. Your ideas, writing and attitude to tackling the various issues are so refreshing, and they provide some hope that out of the weakness of so many politians, someone has some balls to raise the bar, even if there are some failures along the way. We need that attitude in the highest office eventually.
    However on one subject alone, the third runway you must continue to fight this obscene proposal in your backyard. It is just too astounding to contemplate the notion that in 2009 there is a proposal to build in an area of dense conerbation and demolish many homes and businesses to accomodate a third runway.
    Yes we need more capacity even against the backdrop of the green lobby, however it has to be built on a new site as you suggest in the estuary and this decision should have been taken many years ago. Once again the lack of foresight and bravery on the part of the politians.
    This is a piece of 1940’s style thinking in 2009, similar to when they bulldozed a village to build the runway at Filton for the Bristol Brabazon. It flopped
    Heathrow is similarly out of date. It is like a slum in some areas and they keep adding a bit here or there to try to modernise it. If you are airside it is a maize of old thinking and congestion with many security problems, and as a passenger congested, difficult to get to and confusing.
    What did Hong Kong do with British finance – Build on a new site OR make one. Similarly Dubai are adding a new airport which will make Heathrow irrelevant. It will become the new hub because passengers will want to travel through there and avoid the archaic Heathrow.Can we afford as a nation to make this ridiculous error and lose the income derived from what was once a major asset and is now a millstone.
    Stop this nonesense and start building on a new site as soon as possible.
    It is long overdue but maybe the mess Labour has made of the last 10 years provides the ideal conditions to press ahead
    For what it is worth you have my full support on this issue and I watch with interest on many others.

  53. With the future of the third runway being made any time now. Please Boris can you push your idea of building a new air port in the Thames Estuary. – Hong Kong have done a wonderful job of building one out to sea so why can’t we do the same?

    No homes or villages to flatten, no noise for those of us who live in London.- what can we do to help put this idea forward?

  54. The best place for the new London airport is just outside Calais. Plenty of flat open sparsely populated country for a six runway airport, next to the TGV and within an hour by train from London Paris and Brussels. As it is trans border, in an area of high unemployment, Euro money will pay for it. The French will supervise the construction as they are better at big projects than we are.

  55. Well done, Boris for taking a stand on this issue! It’s ridiculous that the government is supporting an expansion of Heathrow and shows that all their green promises were written on nothing but toilet paper.
    I find it bizarre that there is capacity at Northern airports, and a spokesman for Newcastle ‘International’ Airport appears on tv kissing government arse saying the expansion will allow people to hop off international flights and get on another flight oop north. Why isn’t this money being spent on much needed improvement to rail networks, opening up high-speed access by rail to domestic airports? Improvements that would go on to benefit UK residents across the country for years to come, as well as save the unpalatable and long lasting environmental damage that a new Heathrow terminal will cause.

    I have always been a Labour supporter, but Boris, with your willingness to speak out on issues like this, as well as your inimitable wit of course, the colour blue seems to look ever more appealing these days.
    This government is a joke, and all protest and popular opinion seems to fall on deaf ears.

  56. Boris,
    Bruntingthorpe in Leicester has alonger runway than Manstons, 28/10 of 2752m, Bthorpe has 3000m and with a direct fast rail link could feed london, Prestwick has 2987 m and Cambeltown Mackrahanish has 3049m of course the last two are in Scotland, the big country above England

  57. Has nobody realised that there is a 5,500 ft. runway just 6 miles north of Heathrow – at Northolt, which is scarcely used and could form the basis of a Heathrow expansion, with train connexions to the existing airport across largely open land? This seems like another example of a lack of lateral thinkng on the part of those charged with coming up with solutions to our problems.
    Alternatively, of coures, there are the well-developed plans which have been sitting on ice for many years, for an airport on an artificial island in the Thames estuary.
    Keep pushing, Boris. We’re right with you.

  58. it,s time the goverment started listen to the public, like some mp,s and local councilers who have. no no no to a third run way to heathrow airport. The goverment is only listen to big bisneses. The people need to be heard. there are to many airplanes over west london

  59. Southend on Sea airport island (SOSA) in the same way as Hong Kong did and allow for three or four runways. Perhaps close Stanstead and shift the load out to sea. Connect SOSA to the city with Welsh built maglift monorails from each of the major stations, Waterloo, St Pancrass, Victoria and London Bridge. Each of these can then operate as arrivals and departures thus spreading the load, cutting the congestion to SOSA. You then rejuvenate these areas with employment and opportunities for small business.
    You get my vote Boris

  60. My Dad used to say that ‘Conservatives were all for big business….. ‘
    I used to argue with him… but how wrong I’ve been.
    Why doesn’t this Govt. listen ?
    Why don’t they spend their (our) money building thermally efficient council housing instead of bailing out the banks and other ludicrous schemes?
    Why don’t they …..

    Good on yer Boris, Emma, Alistair et all !

  61. I’m a 17yr student and I completely agree with you mayor. There should be NO 3rd runway what so ever. The money should be put into better trains and bring them up to the quality like other countries!

  62. Dear Boris
    I think you are a breath of fresh air whenever I hear you speak (TV)I agree wholeheartedly with your views on a third runway.Build a new one in the estury
    This dreadfull governement full of contradidictions lies and more lies.
    In so doing making our once great country the laughing stock of the world .
    Keep up the good fight
    You have my full unyeilding support.
    Roy J Fancy

  63. Good man Boris. Nice to hear someone perpared to stick thier head above the parapit unlike the chinless morons that govern us. London is for living. The more we can address the issues of traffic the better and what better place to start than an 24 hour airport in the Thames estuary. It would serve London as well as North and South given proper rail links employ tens of thousands of people whilst reducing the blight of constant air traffic notwithstanding the threat of a accident. Its about time we developed some can do attitude like the Chinese with Hong Kong. Stop debating and start doing something. Atleast we will have something to show for it.

  64. It doesn’t have to be 3050m.
    It just has to be enough to service short-haul flights, so all the big intercontinental planes use the current Heathrow runways, and the Manchester, Paris, Glasgow routes, etc, go from Northolt.
    There is already a tube station right beside Northolt, and the 6 lane A40.
    So the only new build needed will be Terminal 6, and a raised light rail, (like the DLR from Bank to Canary Wharf), i.e. starting underground at Heathrow, then raised straight up to the A40, then west to Northolt.
    Does the government own Northolt ? if so they can sell it to help pay off some national debt.

  65. How can the economic cost of such noise (and kerosene) pollution to literally millions of people be ignored in the cost benefit analysis of a third runway? Moreover, as anyone living in South London will testify the “temporary” arrangement to start flights at 4.30am (a time when nobody, least of all the passengers wants to be landing at heathrow) seems to have become permanent. Bottom line, the only sure winners are BA and BAA, while millions of londoners are guaranteed losers. Maybe it’s because we can’t give free upgrades to MPs?

  66. Climate change remains the greatest threat to biodiversity and mankind, and alongside the RSPB and a coalition of over 4 million others we believe that there should be NO further airport expansion and that the demand for flights should be managed rather than just accepted as necessary.
    We are wholly opposed to the construction of an airport anywhere in the Thames Estuary because of the immense damage it would cause to the area’s internationally important wildlife and the wider environment.The whole issue was exhaustively investigated between 2002 and 2005 in the Government’s Aviation White Paper. All the key players, including the aviation industry, contributed. The idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary (not just Cliffe) was conclusively ruled out and upheld by the High Court. In addition to the unprecedented environmental damage and the resulting massive legal implications, the investigation found that an estuary airport did not make sense economically, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry and presented a significantly higher risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK. Your recent statements suggesting an estuary airport, do nothing to alter any of these findings. The threats and the risks remain the same. An airport in the Thames Estuary is a complete non-starter ecologically, environmentally and economically. An airport in the Thames Estuary would be unsafe. Even with an aggressive bird hazard management programme (i.e.shooting or scaring the birds away), the bird strike hazard would be up to 12 times higher than at any other major UK airport.The governments own birdstrike hazard report from the 2003 SERAS study stated that ‘It is difficult to envisage a more problematic site anywhere in the UK’
    It would potentially be the single biggest piece of environmental vandalism ever perpetrated in the UK.

  67. Do people, who are for or against a third runway at Heathrow, realised that BAA are diverting aircraft that take-off, from what ever direction, are doing a ninety or a one hundred and eighty degree turn and flying constantly over the West Surrey area. The aircraft that turn into the Surrey sector adds to even more air pollution. BAA has now changed the ‘stacking pattern’ of aircraft waiting to land into Heathrow. Aircraft can constantly be seen in the ‘holding pattern’in the West Surrey area. In a twenty-four hour period I have counted over a thousand aircraft overflying this area. In one week 7,000 aircraft constantly fill the skies over West Surrey. That is an average of 28,000 aircraft per month polluting the skies. A BAA spokesman has written to me to denying that this is happening and stating that the air traffic has not increased. Before January 2004 there were no aircraft to be seen over the West Surrey area. Since that time the air traffic has gradually increased month on month to its present levels.Be warned – if a third runway is built the air pollution will rise to dangerous levels all over the South-east of England.

    In 2003 the present Government did a deal with BAA. Gatwick and the other airports would be ‘taken away’ from the BAA remit, but there was a promise that a 3rd runway would be given the ‘go ahead’to apprease the BAA.

    Money and ‘big business’ have influanced the Government and the so-called ‘green credentials’ fly out of the window.

  68. Apparently the Mayor is putting aside £15,000 in a fund to fight the Heathrow challenge legally. I know very little of these things, but is that enough? Bearing in mind what good lawyers charge these days, that should cover four or five days work.

  69. The Department for Transport has just released the fact that of the 70000 submissions to the Consultation concerning the 3rd Runway at Heathrow only 11% were in favour.
    If this were a football match that would be a thrashing victory of 8 – 1 for the NO Lobby.
    However the Government chooses to ignore the result and many Labour MPs who argued against the 3rd Runway in the earlier debate caved in to the pressure by Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown.
    Well the replay will come in the next General Election.
    The Goverment has signed its own Death Certificate !

  70. congratulations, a politician talking sense. London is bad enough without increasing pollution from the air. I remember driving near Heathrow 10 years ago and apart from the noise, the smell of aircraft fuel was appalling. How anyone can live in the area of the airport I do not know.
    How can Brown and cronies justify their decision to allow another runway? They ignore everything the public say but WHY? What is going on? We do not need this runway. We do not need the expansion of Stansted either. People matter not big business and their profits because that is probably what this is really about – MONEY – but whose pocket will it go into? Answers on postcards to Boris Johnson please.

  71. GO THAT MAN! Your fantastic ideas and sence of humanity make you fit to be our new PM! *i really hope*
    I kindly wish you all the best for your present and future.
    Keep that chin up!

    Kindest Regards, S.Jayferry

  72. Although I live in Kent, I think it extremely unfair that West London should be further burdened

  73. I’m so thrilled to see Boris Johnson cares about the environment and hope he does anything he can to prevent this disgusting runway.

  74. I can’t help thinking that if we REDUCED our population, we could solve so many problems, congestion, pollution, housing shortages, the loss of our Beautifull countryside, landfill problems, there would be no need for a third runway at all.
    As for the need to increase fuel taxes to pay for Carbon Capture technologies, we already have these technologies, they are called trees.
    what sort of country are we going to leave to our children.

    Somebody Please Stop this Corporate Driven Madness.

  75. How about the third runway being moved west, ie Cardiff or Bristol? Traffic on the M4 heading to Heathrow would be reduced and flights from both these airports have far less impact on the surrounding area. We desperately need long-haul flight facilities from this side of UK.

  76. I think the new airport in the Thames is an excelent idea! South Essex and North Kent need the development and if carefully integrated with other infrastuctural upgrades it would be a boon to the SE and the country. But you are going to have to hurry if air travel is not to be a restricted privelige. I live in Gillingham and would expect to be able to see the aircraft taxiing from my house. Please get on with it! We should call it “Boris Johnson International”! Can you get it satrted by 2015?

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