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Heathrow Airport Expansion

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Margaret Thatcher


New Runway At Last?

For many years (decades in fact) there have been consultations, enquiries and other blatantly timewasting procedures concerning a new airport for London. Latest version is not a new airport, but rather a new runway at Heathrow. Time and again these consultations have come up with fudges, avoiding the obvious solution - increase Heathrow's capacity. But every time the decisions are ignored due to their not pleasing the politicians. And meanwhile new buildings and infrastructure are pressing ever closer to the airport perimeter, ensuring that when eventually the third LHR runway is built the cost will be much higher than if it had been built decades ago! A sad reflection on the short-sighted and negligent behaviour of successive governments and planners. In fact this will be the FOURTH runway, not third. There was a third runway running NE - SW for many years, but it was closed some time ago due it restricting use of the other two.
Heathrow is such an obvious candidate for expansion and always has been. The location and infrastructure is near perfect, and it is all in place. Why start again with a new airport in the middle of nowhere, or expand Stansted or Gatwick, which can only serve geographically smaller areas. Heathrow is easily reached from the majority of the country, only the East being a bit more difficult, having to circumvent London. But this is a relatively small area when compared to the territory to the north, south and west. Gatwick is further from the north than Heathrow and has relatively poor links from anywhere except south London or Brighton. Stansted is too far from London, also with poor links other than to the capital. Luton or Northolt could be solutions if a new site is chosen but they both bring new problems, notably being constrained by the surrounding developments. But on location they are both winners, close to London and easily accessible. "Boris Island" is a crazy idea, totally inaccessible from any direction except the far south-east, expensive to build, and environmentally unfriendly. Why build on a totally new undeveloped site miles from anywhere when what passengers want and need is convenience. Other countries such as France can do it, why can't we? Charles de Gaulle Airport was planned properly from the start, a large area, close to Paris, and with plenty of room for expansion. The French were busy building decades back, while we were discussing "London's third airport". Now they have a world-class airport while we still prevaricate. Heathrow is world-class still, excellent infrastructure and conveniently located, but it needs to grow as air transport grows. Short-sighted governments come and go but the problem does not. Somebody needs to grasp the nettle and make the decision to expand work - and work quickly! Fast track the development, don't get bogged down in more enquiries and other timewasting measures.
And what of Gatwick? It also needs expansion, it serves a different (mainly leisure) market and is also nearing saturation. Again expansion is hampered by politicians, and local activists. What is wrong with this country - nothing seems to ever get done!
Last point - for any whingers living near LHR! I have a 3-bed semi near Nottingham with no airport anywhere nearby..... how about an exchange for a similar "blighted" house near LHR? Genuine offer as I would love to move back south and being surrounded by the aircraft I crave would make for perfection! But I bet nobody is so concerned about the noise and pollution that they would swap to live where I am!!!!!