Laughable politics – Heathrow airport to expand so as ‘to prevent’ global warming

This news should have come with a good few exclamation marks –

The transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, warned yesterday that failure to expand Heathrow would damage the economy and have no impact on global warming, as the government prepares to launch the campaign for a third runway at Britain’s largest airport.

This is laughable. The article continues –

The government will start a lengthy battle with environmental campaigners and residents today by publishing a consultation on building a new runway and increasing the number of flights from existing terminals.

Kelly said abandoning expansion plans might salve green consciences but it would have no impact on the environment, because the global appetite for air travel would continue to grow at 5% a year. “If Heathrow is allowed to become uncompetitive, the flights and routes it operates will simply move elsewhere. All it will do is shift capacity over the Channel. It will make us feel pure, but with no benefit to the rest of the planet.”

What, pray, is the benefit to the planet of a third runway and a more ruthlessly-efficient customer processing system that will arise with another airport terminal?

The argument about the potential relocation to other, more willing recipients for some kind of economic ‘good’ is a familiar one. It goes that, by relinquishing control to some other actor, the ‘benefit’ of the ‘inevitable’ arrangement will move elsewhere and not benefit us! Yet, nothing is inevitable. It’s all a matter of choice and decisions made.

So Ruth Kelly most definitely no longer shines a light for the home territory.


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