Government Need to Act on Third Runway at Heathrow

When Flypark first started offering airport parking back in 1990, they had been talking about the need for Heathrow to have a third runway and Gatwick a second. Here we are 23 years later and the debate is no further forward and our European competitors continue to take business at the expense of Heathrow.

Planning was given the green light by the last Labour Government only to be withdrawn by the Conservatives who promised to do so when in opposition. Unfortunately any expansion at Heathrow is subject to the impact on local residents and conservation areas and a political minefield.

The need to expand in the south east is now a foregone conclusion and the political ping pong does little to serve the interests of the UK economy and unless a positive decision is made sooner rather than later more business will be lost.

Business associations and major UK airlines such as BA have all now warned the government they are putting the long term interest of the country at risk and the owners of Heathrow have taken the opportunity to put three options before the government that will increase the number of flights from 480,000 to 740,000 per year.

All the options will require compulsory purchase of thousands of homes and even some entire villages and will take enormous political will to see this through. Boris Johnson the Major of London favours building a brand new airport in the Thames Estuary but this is seen by many as a non-starter and will take too long to build.

Our European competitors nearly all have the advantage of building modern airports away from major urban populations and already have 4 or more runways with lots of spare capacity with Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid all gaining business from the far east and especially China.

As an interested party, Flypark naturally would like to see Heathrow grow but moreover feel that government dithering is causing great harm to the UK economy and a bigger Heathrow means more jobs, inward investment and foreign visitors.

It must also not be forgotten that many of the residents and business close to Heathrow either work there or are dependent for their livelihood on the airport. For those who will need to move they must be paid the premium rate for their homes and any inconvenience caused.

Yet a another review has been called by the Coalition government to be completed by 2015, conveniently after the next election and while politicians sit on their hands our European rivals get further ahead.

Does all this ring any bells with our energy policy with governments dithering in which direction to go. Shale gas may dig them out of this particular hole.




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