Lewisham joins Council coaltion against Heathrow expansion

Lewisham Council has joined 2M - the alliance of 19 local authorities "concerned at the environmental impact of [possible] Heathrow expansion on their communities."

As Brockley Jon reported from the recent BrocSoc meeting, some residents of Brockley suffer from aircraft noise, generated by Heathrow flights. If a third-runway is built, then flights over Lewisham could double during the day, although limits on night flights would remain.

As one of the residents affected, Brockley Central is not overly-bothered by aircraft noise, which we only notice occasionally during the day, when we're outside. We'd rather it wasn't there of course, but the situation isn't comparable to the noise pollution experienced by people in West London and it is a fairly long way down our list of public nuisances - below dog poo, commercial waste bins clogging the main streets, litter, speeding drivers and massive car stereos, for example.

The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said: “Aircraft noise is a growing concern for Lewisham residents, so we have joined with other councils to make the case against the expansion of Heathrow.”

But here's 2M's stated "position":

Members are not anti-Heathrow but feel passionately that the Government consistently fails to either acknowledge or assess the airport's full environmental impact...

The 2M Group believes that the Government and the industry consistently overstate the economic benefits of aviation and fail to measure the full environmental costs.

We believe the Government should commission an independent cost-benefit analysis for all expansion proposals.

We do not think it can be right for the Government to allow for a doubling of carbon emissions from domestic aviation by 2050 – while expecting all other sectors to reduce their emissions.

The proposals ask people to take on trust that extra flights will not lead to more noise or worsening air pollution. This is based on the promise of a radical change in airlines' fleet mixes including new aircraft not currently on the drawing board.

Which, of course, is not much of a position at all. The 2M literature doesn't exactly make the case against Heathrow expansion - it prefers to pose lots of questions and challenge many of the assumptions made in the case for Heathrow expansion, such as the number and quality of jobs created.

While this is all completely legitimate and there are plenty of strong arguments against expansion, it avoids 2M having to state the reality of the situation, which is that if you block Heathrow expansion, you either restrict flights (making the cost of UK air travel more expensive and (according to supporters of the expansion) restrict economic growth) or you build a new airport elsewhere (the vaunted alternative being the Thames estuary) at enormous (and unknown) cost.

The reason 2M don't say any of this of course, is because they want to create the biggest possible coalition, and don't want to alienate support by spelling out the implications of their questions. Far easier to demand further enquiry.

Mayor Bullock is happy to have signed Lewisham up to outright opposition to expanding Heathrow. But are Brockley residents happy with this decision?

71 comments:

Headhunter said...

It's a toughie. I've mentioned before, I get quite a lot of aircraft noise pollution at times although it seems quite inconsistent, some days it's awful, literally 1 plane followed by another and another... Like a traffic jam over Manor Avenue, then other days we don't get much at all.

I would be concerned if aircraft noise doubled it's current level at peak times, however I would not want a large, new airport built over the Thames estuary which is Anyway an airport in the Thames estuary would surely also mean plane noise in Lewisham as planes circled waiting for landing slots.

If you ask me, what's most alarming is that our government is willing to commit so much time and effort to expanding the air travel network at a time when global warming threatens our whole planet. I understand that if we do not do this, the UK stands to be left behind economically, but surely increasing global reliance on air travel is comething that needs to be tackled and considered on a global level, and soon.

I want to give up my job, strap myself to a tree on Lewisham Way, then go to Heathrow and disrupt flights for the good of us all...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

But will you do that Headhunter? Often its harder to put things into practice then oringinally thought. This relates to the government too.

I think that the government would more than welcome a global approach to combating environmental issues, but there is a game plan that they have to abide by. I.e. The UK competes with our countries. Yes, we would be left behind. This is simply not an option. If we did this, then in 20 years time the UK would have substantially less 'bargaining power' to encourage global change and our country would go to ruin. This is why the airport expansion is a 'neccessary evil'.

Sue Luxton said...

I don’t think anyone will be surprised to know that Lewisham’s Green councillors welcome this change of heart. Back in January, I asked the Deputy Mayor if Lewisham Council would be responding to the Heathrow Consultation and was told no and Cllr Mark Bennett (Lib Dem) asked the Mayor if the Council would be joining 2M and was again told no. It's good to see the Mayor continuing his policy of late but sensible U-turns, but a shame he didn't decide to speak up for residents before the public consultation ended. The Green Group however did submit a very detailed response setting out our concerns which can be found here. The relevant Q&A from January’s Full Council meeting can be found on page 37 and 80 of this document.

You make some valid points about the implications of not expanding Heathrow and I would argue that the cost of flights does need to increase to reflect their environmental impact. We need to think about flying less often and it would be pretty much impossible to increase flights and significantly cut our overall carbon emissions. The one would almost certainly cancel out the other. The whole cheap flights thing has been fun, but if we’re serious about cutting our nation’s carbon emissions and tackling climate change, we’re going to have to start taking the train to Europe and having more holidays in the UK.

By the way, readers might be interested to know that HACAN are organising a public meeting in Blackheath on April 23rd to discuss Heathrow. Details on my blog .

Brockley Nick said...

@Sue

Thanks for providing some more background. I don't necessarily disagree with the need to restrict aviation. If I was in charge, we'd be building a high-speed rail link (or two) from London to Scotland, to cut down domestic flying, but I think campaigners need to be honest about what the implications of their position are - eg: we can all expect to go on foreign holidays less often (especially poor people). If they lose some support as a result of this honesty, then so be it.

Monkeyboy said...

Everyone is an environmetalist until they have to pay in some way, the principle of 'poluter pays' is tough but what's the alternative?

Ken relaised that everyone thinks people are too reliant on cars in London - except themselves obviously. So he introduced a significant tax on it to reduce it, make it painful to use your car.

Nick's right, it will hurt but climate change is all a bit academic for us at the moment. We can still afford to eat and London is not underwater so it all seems a bit remote. of course by the time we DO notice we've missed the boat - forgive the pun.

Also how can we ask the developing world to forgo some of our luxuries if we are unwilling to cut back ours?

Headhunter said...

APP&P - Do what? Strap myself to a tree and disrupt flights? That was a joke to be honest. I would very much love to devote myself to green issues, unfortunately the mortgage won't pay itself.... I do feel that the global impact of aviation is of global importance, though.

Of course restricting aviation in and out of the UK will push up prices, but currently the government (and indeed governments round the world) appear to be doing little to reduce reliance on aviation. Even some kind of education of the public at large of the impact their trip to Benidorm is having on the world would be useful. I must admit though, I'm certainly no angel myself when it comes to air travel.

Of course the UK does not exist in a vacuum and any policy needs to be agreed upon at a global level.

I don't believe that "poor people" specifically need to suffer from lack of international travel however. It sounds extreme, but I would suggest some kind of carbon rationing, allocation of specific carbon credits to each person to use as they see fit. This would ensure equal distribution of access to flights. The free market acts as an adequate balance for distribution of resources in many cases, but when it comes down to slow, steady destruction of the planet, I think possibly extreme measures are called for.

Sue Luxton said...

The London Assembly commissioned a report by Colin Buchanan and Partners into the economic impacts of Heathrow Expansion, which can be found here. Basically, it found that the economic benefits of expanding Heathrow had been massively overstated and that more money goes out of the country when British citizens go on holiday abroad than comes in through foreign visitors to the UK.

Re cheap flights and who benefits, according to this BBC article,research has also shown that it is actually the middle class who benefit most from cheap flights, not the poor, as those on low incomes can’t afford to pay for all the other costs associated with a holiday abroad eg accommodation. Personal carbon quotas are a more equitable way to make sure people consume carbon according to their fair share, rather than their wealth:

Brockley Nick said...

I'm sure you're right about middle classes taking advantage of cheap flights most, but if prices go up and the better off have to cut down their foreign trips from 4 to 3, then that's quite different from a poorer family that has to cut down from 1 to 0.

Personal carbon quotas would be a nightmare to implement (not least because no one knows how to properly measure the CO2 emissions of various activities) and I don't see why carbon should uniquely be rationed on a per capita basis, rather than rationing by cost, like we have for things like cars, holidays, new kitchens, etc.

Or is the argument that access to a certain amount of carbon is a human right? In which case, why not reposess all housing stock in the UK and distribute it on a per capita basis?

Monkeyboy said...

Nick, are you trying to wind up the Brockley Marxists?

Brockley Nick said...

Through experience, I've learned there's little point in trying to wind up marxists, even the most innocent posts can end up doing the job.

But your point about the C Charge is a good one. It was a very clear and effective way of using pricing to ration a finite resource (road space) with a corresponding investment in public services (mainly buses) to provide an alternative. Imagine trying to introduce a personal road space allowance, where everyone had a basic right to be stuck in traffic for a certain amount of time each year and congestion credits could then be traded amongst individuals, etc. Not workable or sensible.

If you want to reduce aviation, provide alternatives (high speed rail) and tax flying. But be honest about what you're doing, why you're doing it, who it will affect and how much it will cost.

Brockley Nick said...

Anyway, we digress... Sorry about that.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

It is very interesting. The ideal scheme of increasing environmental protection via cutting emissions etc is very specific to the cause.

I.e. for certain industries in the USA, the government introduced a 'credit' system, which companies can freely trade between themselves (and even pay/buy a larger quota depending upon mkt prices). The overall total of credits can be governmentally administered to reduce over time to meet environmental targets.

I honestly think the best solution is going to come from innovation. We are already seeing gas powered aircraft developmed in the USA (with zero emissions) and certaintly the new A380 and Dreamliner aircrafts have a lower emission per passanger ratio then the present global fleet. The A380 actually makes a similar noise level to the existing fleet, despite being much larger.

In my opinion, the most successful outcome from the 'environmental' debate is purely to increase consumer awareness thereby encouraging and increasing the chance for a company to successful innovate.

Btw, I drive a 4x4, and it has zero emissions, and I dont pay congestion charge.

Anonymous said...

one of the considerations when moving to SE london was the 'lack' of too much plane noise. We viewed houses in west london, but cost as well as the low flying planes led us to move to brockley. when I moved in last year, there was little noise from flights overhead, however, for the last couple of months there has definitly been an increase in noise in the mornings and evenings. It may not be as bad as the noise in west london, but i do not believe that we should sit back and accept that as a good reason for any worsening of the situation! so i am glad that lewisham has at least taken steps to join the coalition.

Danja said...

It seems that the changes would be worse for SE London than it might appear:
www.blackheath.org/documents/HeathrowJan'08%20FS%20final.doc

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I never really hear the planes unless I think about it. I have a nince back garden, with a few trees, and i just concentrate on the birds and insects buzzing around and before I know it its night time!

Has anyone considered the increase in noise/pollution from the higher frequency of ELL trains? This may have an immediate effect on ground vibration etc..

I dont even hear the trains from where I am (and im only one road away from brockley station).

max said...

Economic growth is not a desirable outcome if it made out of pollution and distraction of investments from other initiatives that could equally produce wealth but with other beneficial outcomes besides.
What about farming for example, it the investors in aviation would put the same money on farming we would be much better positioned to avoid the food crisis that's coming.

The same argument about job-creation is often made in support of arm deals, that's sickening, instead of arms invest in something else and you'd have made something good for the world, not just for the GDP.

It's not as black or white for aviation because it's travel and not weapons but the base concept is the same.

The investors in aviation are deploying a highly sophisticated pr campaign to try to convince us that we'll lose crucial competitiveness if we don't invest in airports, bollocks I say, we've got plenty of airports, you can fly whenever you want, only that there's too many people flying.

I agree that flying should be far more expensive and reflect its cost (and value).
I have no concern whatsoever for the rights of the less well off to have weekend breaks in Prague.
If they want to get drunk on the cheap they can buy a 6 pack at Tesco and get drunk at home.
With oil at $110 a barrel and a food crisis that will make it much harder for many families to put food on the table my concerns for the aviation industry are almost zero.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Interesting points.

I think its extremely important for the less well off to be able to travel. Often this brings with it a greater appreciation of differing cultures and traditions and it is often the working class that are disenfrancised from mainstream culture (where the more wealthy can continue to travel etc.). This obviously indirectly feeds into policiing and crime and education issues impacting the less well off in the domestic country where people would become more intolerance (but not appreciating each others experience or insight).

Excuse my ignorance, but what food crisis? Not in the Uk, In Africa maybe but that has been persistent for many years. To put things into context, there was a famine in Ireland in the 1920's, we are far from that now. In anything we have too much supply of artificaly cheap food in our supermarkets where the often small suppliers are completey screwed by the big chains.

I agree the principle should be to not promote environmentally damaging industries but there is a timing trade off to consider. I.e. If the UK does not promote any arms deals, then the supply to fulfil a contract decreases. This means the contract award of the arms deal will increase, resulting in more money going to other countries which are less then concerned about human rights (for eg. china perhaps?). Sometimes it is better to bite the bullet and take on the contract safe in the knowledge that a foreign country, with potentially damaging ideas could harm the very ideas we, as a nation, are trying to protect.

Now, the unfortunate position, is that we - as people outside government, and who have not signed the highest level of official secrecy act - do not know the full extent of the issues.

That is why sometimes it may appear they are ignorant, or ignoring the electorate, but can be far from the truth. I suspect that if you really knew some of the official secrets you would be totally and completey screwed up. Some scary stuff could happen.

Bea said...

When I lived on Breakspears Road flights went right over the top of the house close enough to be able to read the wing numbers and Aviation Company. Furthermore it was a case of spot the one that's just left, the one overheard and the spec approaching. It made summer evenings in the garden noisy - but not nearly as noisy as it is for those in West London I imagine.

I now live a couple of streets away and rarely if ever hear a flight. In fact the most noise I hear is police sirens.

I think it is noise in general that is polluting - not just flights.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
max said...

AP,P&P, the emerging economies of India and China have not produced their wealth by making arm deals with the Saudi fascists but investing in technology and manufacturing for the peacetime economy.

We are making the weapons for the worst people on earth, a dead end job that keeps up only if there is global tension. There's no value in it, the argument that that is good because wealth and jobs are created is a nonsense.
If those investments in money and human capital had been used otherwise they would have placed themselves in a virtuous process of wealth creation.

max said...

As for the value of travel for the less-well-off, weekend breaks in the identikit capitals of Europe don't give any meaningful travelling experience, it's a turkey trail, it's awful.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I wonder if alot of people would agree with you Max? I welcome the prospect of travelling to different EU cities. Makes us more aware of Europe. (and we are trying to establish an integrated europe are we not?)

India and china are really bad examples. They may not be trading in arms - yet, but they are massive polluters. (and the point i was trying to make applies to pollution generating industries, but alot harder to clearly explain!).

@anon, I have no life. I'm an auditor.

Headhunter said...

Nick, Sue - Introducing carbon rationing is but 1 step away from a command economy and would certainly be difficult to implement but if climate change is as big a threat as it appears to be, then big, bold all-changing steps are necessary. Basically the human race is far too "successful". Currently, despite global conferences, very little seems to be achieved.

Interesting to hear that only a few people in Brockley seem to be affected by flight noise. Sounds like the planes only fly in specific lanes and only affect certain streets/parts of streets. I had assumed that they flew all over

max said...

You can travel through Europe without flying. There are trains. I did it plenty of times, it's rather wonderful, give much more freedom and you get to appreciate the landscape and you get a feel for distances.

There's the Eurostar to Paris, the most wonderful traveling experience you can have, centre of town to centre of town (instead of back of beyond to back of beyond), great bar carriege and what do people do? They fly! Haaargh!!

India and China are bad examples of what? They have billions of people to lift out of poverty and they do what they can. When they'll have the means they'll pollute less. If we would help them doing it instead of selling them coal power stations that would be easier.

It's a very different situation from ours, we have our belly full but because of greed we plan our investments giving little thought to anything else then monetary profit.

lb said...

Actually China is a large and growing arms exporter, with even fewer scruples than we have (and we have very few). India as well. I agree with you about trains, though.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Very interesting points.

I see it as the opposite. the populous in richer countries such as the UK (just!) often take on the mantle of environmental causes etc alot more than governments of poorer countries - this we agree on. Therefore, I would argue that we as a nation invest alot more in the environment, and invest accordingly. I do not see the government in China giving out grants to fit wind turbines in peoples gardens, or help with loft insulation to reduce the buring of fossil fuels for heat for instance.

Some richer countries - like the US could well do more, but the UK and wider EU are actually doing a fair bit.

I agree trains are alot better. But they do take longer and people often do not want to travel to big cities to get them. One direct flight could equal 3-4 train journeys if you dont live in a city. I would not fly from London to Paris for instance, but I may fly from Southampton to Nice. I see nothing wrong with that.

It would be interesting to compare the frequency of flights and passanger numbers between paris and london, before and after the eurostar. That would give a good indicator of how environmentally geared we are as a nation.

Anonymous said...

Andy - it wouldn't be interesting - it would be dull as F***. You need a good woman in your life - better still - a bad one...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

lol. do you have anyone in mind?

max said...

Let's stick to the point, the aviation industry have created a turkey trail of consumers that they want to keep on milking and they want more runways so that they can get more consumers going through the gates.
It's the investors in aviation that want this, they have lobbied the government that are now working for them and their lucrative investment. They are also deploying a pr attack to soften up opposition by making us believe that it is in our interest.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think its more complicated than that.

Sue Luxton said...

Bizarrely, an article in today's Newsshopper indicates that Mayor Steve Bullock would support building a new airport on the Thames Estuary. That's one of Boris Johnson's hair-brained ideas which was slammed by Ken Livingstone. Naturally, I've made my views on that known on the Newsshopper website.

Anonymous said...

Why Does Lewisham council need to get itself embroiled in any way with this issue?

Air noise pollution is not an issue in our area and anyone who thinks it is is a nut job and needs to move out of London full stop!

Political "positioning and alignment" with soft or "green" concepts is really annoying when so much direct action in the immediate area still needs delivery. Like getting regenration and investment into Lewisham which strategically has so much potential compared to any other borough in such close proximity to major London hubs.

How about looking at how air travel can positively influence our area - the strategic links with City Airport for instance? Theres an international finace centre just over the river in case Steve Bullock hasn't noticed.

An airport on the estuary makes sense - relatively little impact compared to the other locations and easy to get people into where they want to go after they've arrived.

ElijahBailey said...

"That's one of Boris Johnson's hair-brained ideas"

Actually it is an idea that was first floated way back in the early 70's. I think you crediting Johnson with far too much original intelligence.

max said...

Recently I was having a conversation in the alleyway next to St Mary's Church.
A quiet place you would think. Wrong!
We just couldn't hear each other because of airplane noise.

So anonymous, I think that I am one of those that you consider a nut job and needs to leave London.
(Just to set the record on this, I have no intention to leave.)

If noise increases considerably then it will affect quality of life. It could be a real issue.

But what many are also concerned with is the impact of aviation on the environment both in terms of fossil fuel burnt in the atmosphere and the considerable amount of land used by airports. And when an airport is built or expanded full villages are erased from the map, and with the villages woodlands, farms, everything goes, replaced by lots of concrete.

I argue that a lot of people that is currently flying up and down like restless hamsters could consider enjoying themselves otherwise to the benefit of both the environment and their quality of life.
I also think that it is irresponsible and hypocritical for a government to promote flying when there is a commitment to cut fuel consumption.

You suggest to stop looking at the problems that the Heathrow expansion could bring because...
...we must look instead at the potential benefits from City Airport.

Excuse me, aren't these two separate issues?

"An airport on the estuary makes sense"
A third issue! A sixth Airport!

Sue Luxton said...

Elijah: fair point, it wasn't an original idea of Boris's, perhaps I should have said 'one of his manifesto pledges', but I'm not sure if it was even that or just an off the cuff remark he made. The point I was trying to make is that the Labour Mayor of London candidate is 100% against an airport on the Thames Estuary and acknowledges that we can't keep expanding aviation and cut carbon emissions, while the Labour Mayor of Lewisham clearly thinks otherwise.

Anonymous said...

For goodness sake Max - your conversation was briefly disrupted by an aircraft? Even if I can actually belive this - was it anymore disruptive than a passing ambulance, some roadworks, a car stereo - the sound of St Marys beautiful but very noisy church bells!

Genral discussions about air pollution have got nothing to do with a blog about our local community and the issues that directly affect us.

Without the airports that bring people and commerce into London, our city and prosperity would be very different.

There are many ways to live respectfully and carefully towards the environment and many ideas we could discuss that we can do directly here in Brockley. But essentially we are where we are and we can't go backwards I'm afraid.

So get off talking about airports and lets look at real local issues that make a difference.

max said...

Anonymous, in case you haven't noticed this thread is entitled "Lewisham joins Council coalition against Heathrow expansion" so I think that it is ok to speak about London airports here.

And, in case you're the same anonymous that I was answering to, well, I was answering to you and if that was you, you were also speaking of airports, and not just one but three.

Anonymous said...

Are you White Goodman or something?

max said...

You got things upside down, I'm the one that signs with his real name.

Richard Elliot said...

I see planes flying overhead my flat on a daily basis, but have never heard one. They are too high and there is too much other background noise (mainly traffic living so close to Lewisham Way).

When I read the article I wondered why Lewisham Council were sticking there oar in on something that doesn't affect residents. However, it seems noise pollution is a genuine issue for some residents judging by a couple of the comments.

Anonymous said...

It's weird, but it really depends on where you live. Some roads in Brockley get aircraft noise, some (right next door ) don't. I never hear any planes unless I really listen hard and it's a completely quiet. Even then it sounds distant - certainly nothing that can be described as pollution.

jon s said...

Everyone say NIMBY............

We need to expand an airport, or a new one with 5 runways. Heathrow is an inefficient embarrasment.

Actually, protectionism in the past has caused famine and environmental disaster, remember the corn laws???

Anyhoo to claim the economic benefits of airport expansion are suspect is daft. We are a service based economy that exports services. E.g. I bring in money to the UK from other parts of the EU, by flying to their countries. Also they pay the expensies of my flights, hence adding further revenue to UK services. Redo the study factoring in that "outlier" and how reduced airport capacity stifles growth of SMEs and reduces revenue of UK based offices of multinationals!!

As to the environmental issue, the solution is green shipping and fuels, with extensive R&D into boifuels that don't compete with the food crop. Until then, mass production of food in factories, e.g. sheds full of potatos and hydroponic sugar beets!!!!!!

Stop attacking the output and look at increasing ecological supply, making Brockely and the rest of the world a better place.

Anonymous said...

NIMBY

Monkeyboy said...

By the way that hot house of intelectual and scientific talent the BNP also support the Thames estury airport idea. Kind of tells you all you need to know about it really.

Anonymous said...

That's because they all want an easy trip when they fly from Plumstead to Marbella on their hols.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

How on earth can you claim a link between the BNP and a new thames airport?

Monkeyboy, did you get out of bed the wrong side this morning?

Monkeyboy said...

Because Richard Barnbrook, the BNP canditate for Mayor, has said he backs the Thames Esturay airport that's why.

lb said...

I think he was just stating that it was a policy the BNP supported. Which they may well do, I've never looked in their 'manifesto' to find out.

I'm more concerned about the noises coming from my downstairs neighbours, far worse than any plane.

lb said...

sorry, that comment was addressed to [AP]

Headhunter said...

Aha! Someone has trotted out "NIMBYism" again... Why does that always get rolled out whenever anyone takes an interest in their local area?! You could shout "NIMBY" for just about anything ever discussed here! If you're going to shout NIMBY then it'd probably best to bugger off to another site, or lobby Nick to shut the whole blog down. Otherwise perhaps just shut up?

BTW it's aeroplane not airplane - we are not American... At least I think we're not...

ElijahBailey said...

It would be greener to have a new airport replace Heathrow in the long run as plane wouldn't have to fly against the prevailing wind and circle about so much, both of which waste fuel.

I think we need a new airport which runs 24hrs with at least 3 runways. And for that a an airport out in the estuary is a good idea. A lot better than expanding Heathrow. Better to replace Heathrow all together and open up that whole area for redevelopment.

http://www.teaco.co.uk/siting.htm

jon s said...

Sigh, ad hominum, hyperbole, and the straw man hypothesis. i.e. attacking me and not the argument, exaggeration of my position, aligning of my position with extremist views and then destroying the extremist views.

Quite frankly not what I would expect from the particular individual based on their previously lucid, intelligent and often well thought posts.

We need to expand airport facilites for London, my question is where? Noise will always affect someone even if it is further away and part of a high speed rail link.

Do I object to Lewisham opposing this? Yes, I believe it misguided, naive and short sighted.

Does my wanting positive investment in Brockers and what this blog stand for constitute NIMBYism? No!

Headhunter said...

The fact that the estuary is a spot that hundreds of thousands of birds migrate to and from is surely abig problem, both in terms of bird strikes to planes and ecological impact. The estuary is a site of massive importance to birds. The response on Elijah's website seems to be...

"The existence of birds within the surrounds of the Thames Estuary Airport will be managed, just as is the case at all other airports."

... So a huge cull of migrating birds then?

Headhunter said...

OK Jon S sorry for the extreme response to the NIMBY thing... Just that it seems to get rolled out every now and then here when people don't really have an argument or anything interesting to say, but you have expressed a view beyond this so... Thanks...

jon s said...

Apparently the base of the island in the Thames esturary was laid in the 1970s and is stable so costs won't be as high as people think.

Anonymous said...

might help stop bird flu.....

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I interprete NIMBY in respect of a particular stance on an issue. Normally against something and where the person only concentrates on the negative (i.e. 'NOT' in my backyard). I have no problem if any argument is properly considered, merits et all, but some people seem to conviently 'forget' the positive side to the argument!

i.e. I would welcome bright yellow signs in my street, if the police thought thats where they should be placed following a independent risk assessment.

i think the BNP consists of extreme conservative or extreme socialist people, I'm not surprised by the support of a new airport, they probably see it as a positive force in a depressed area to help employment and regeneration...

Monkeyboy said...

No, the BNP are neo-nazi racists.

All their other policies are simply a way of masquerading as credible political party. They're not, they're dangerous. Thankfully only idiots and the misguided would ever consider voting for them.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Yes, I would agree the BNP, at least a proportion of the members and leadership are racist.

Not sure if I would agree they share the same political ideology as the nazis though. The nazi's wanted to create a dominant 'aryan' race. According to the nazi definition, people from the UK are not aryan, but a sub race to it. According to the same ideologoy people from Africa are even sub-serviant to the uk sub race!

Amanda said...

Heathrow needs a third runway desperately. The much reported problems with lugguage recently, is compounded by the tight margin for error, that having only two runways, at a busy international creates.

Monkeyboy said...

This conversation has digressed, my fault.

I'm going to leave it now otherwise I'll just get abusive.

ElijahBailey said...

Yes Heathrow does need a third runway, but the area surrounding Heathrow doesn't.

Heathrow has many fundamental flaws which no amount of tinkering will solve.

At some there are going have to be radical changes. And that is not going to happen until BAA's monopoly is broken and the airports can compete with each other on a level playing feild.

max said...

Elijahbailey, I looked at the link for the Thames Estuary proposal and as first impression that looks preferrable than expanding Heathrow or Stansted, at least it prevents concreting over more land that is actually becoming scarse.

Jon S, you mention R&D in biofuels, I wouldn't put my money on that being a solution for environmental problems caused by aviation but surely investment in new technologies are the best way forward, where I disagree with you is in a government that plans for expansion but doesn't invest in research, work for multinational companies to increase their profits but allows them to dodge taxes.
You mention air travel being critical to business, well it is possible to use taxation to decrease the cheap leisure travel thus providing more capacity for the business travellers.

Amanda, I can't understand how having three runways at Heathrow rather than two could have made a difference in the luggage handling fiasco. That's phenomenal incompetence, the same people would have been equally incompetent.

Amanda said...

The week before last, my husband had to take a flight to the States for a conference, via T5. At 9.00am, we say our goodbyes, the flight leaves at 10.30am. Everything is going smoothly, I'm thinking this Terminal 5 is not too bad, we'd had a swift journey in via the Piccadilly line. At 11.30amhe calls me via his mobile. I'm puzzled, 'mobile phone use on planes, already?' but I realise it can't be so
I ask: "what's happened? why are you ringing? has the flight been cancelled?".
He replies: "No, worse".
Me: Worse ? what do you mean?
Him: "Something hit the hold, during the loading of lugguage, they had to do safety checks, this took some time and as result [this is the key bit] we've missed our slot on the runway."

So, to cut the story short, he had to go to San Francisco sans his luggage. (There was much palaver at the other end).

If there was another runway, I believe that this situation would have been alleviated. Think about it, one runway for all the planes departing and one for arrivals. I don't know how Heathrow has managed so well for as long as it has.

Sue Luxton said...

Hmm, I still think that if we are to pay more than lip-service to tackling climate change that flying less is going to have to be part of the solution. Expanding airports and increasing capacity will wipe out other carbon savings London may manage to make. This isn't about 'not in my back yard', it's about the incompatibility of increasing aviation with combating climate change. Taking the train to Europe instead of the plane, more holidays in the UK and greater use of video-conferencing by businesses have got to be part of the solution.

William Canynge said...

I used to live with my grandparents in Bedfont (i.e. at the end of the runway) and I'm afraid I think that anyone in SE London who is moaning about Heathrow hasn't actually got anything to complain about!

Climate change is the only valid argument - the plane's aren't noisy here, believe me! You try walking back from Hatton Cross, then you'll see (hear) what I mean. This neck of the woods in oasis of calm.

Anonymous said...

thought it was flights to heathrow over my house that made so much noise, but noticed this morning that they are smaller planes, (flying quite low) that fly west and then appear to take a right turn over east dulwich.... heading to city airport? so perhaps it is the increase in flights to city airport as well as the new landing pattern where all flights are streamed over SE London.

Anonymous said...

amanda

I'm not sure that argument bears much examination.

There has been a lot of time to contrive a baggage handling system to suit these conditions. Indeed, the designers of the system defend its integrity vigorously.

The fact that the system broke down was very much to do with poor management. Training and having the right people in the right place.

It aint rocket science.

This incompetence has led to a PR disaster, which has cost the companies involved very dearly.

Heads appear to have rolled, new managers will have been appointed to make it work.

Harking back to the original design constraint on the number of runways as the reason for this chaos won't wash. It is the management competence of BAA and BA that is open to question now.

The cosy monopolies that these two organisations have been exploiting for years is the reason for this debacle.

Amanda said...

It's important to maintain some perspective when considering environmental matters, I do this by listening to this guy...

Amanda said...

Apols for the duff link in the above post guy
now corrected.

To anon 11.03, I do know that there were inefficiencies and mistakes at T5, with management and training. My point doesn't discount that my point is that those issues were compounded, magnified by limited runway resource. We know planes arriving at Heathrow are often 'stacked' up in the air circling waiting to land. Another runway I believe is needed simply for the existing capacity.

To be honest, I don't think is much of an arguement against Heathrow having a third runway. The issue is about the environmental costs; noise, pollution, how best to ameliorate them.

I think lobbying to speed up the research & development, and take up of aircraft with technology has a less harmful impact is the way forward.

For me that is where the deal needs to be struck.

Anonymous said...

Now if we had built an airport out in the Thames Estuary somewhere we could have closed down Heathrow years ago.

Whether it would have scythed through the avian population in quite the dramatic manner suggested, I doubt.

This is the dilemma of the Environmental lobby. Fight off one threat to the environment and you lose another. We will see the same with the Severn Tidal Barrier: win that battle and there will be more pressure for the Nuclear option.

I would like to think that both sides of the Environmental debate moving towards each other so we have some sort of national consensus, rather the dogmatic, adversial stance each side seems set upon.

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