Friday, February 17, 2006

Heathrow is dangerous and should not be expanded, here's why

I've seen this piece of coverage today in the Richmond and Twickenham Times: Plane’s engines failed over borough.

Apparently, a Boeing 747 cargo "lost" one engine and had to make an emergency landing in LHR.

In a separate accident, of which I can't find any press clippings, a stowaway passenger from Africa fell on the Sainsbury's petrol station in North Sheen.

About 1 million live under the flight path in London, and Heathrow airport is to my knowledge the only airport in Europe whose approach is directly above amajor city.

Geography alone says that a 5th terminal in Heathrow is dangerous, let alone a 3rd runway.

Why indeed expanding Heathrow when there 3 other major airports in less populated areas? The answer is of course because concentrating operations in LHR is beneficial to BA and BAA. At the expense of London residents.

The governement is arguing that they are merely planning for the unstoppable expansion in air passenger numbers. This is simply because more sustainable alternatives are not being developped.

Rod Eddington, BA's former CEO, said it himself: “Everyone should be taking the train", "People wouldn’t need to fly between London and Manchester if the service was faster.” (Eddington’s Rocket: the jet train to shrink Britain, The Times, 15/1/06) (but the idea of a kerosene-powered train is ludicrous: why reinventing high-speed train when the technology is there and has been in use for 20 years in France, and at times where petrol supplies are uncertain?)

The proof is there: Eurostar's rail/air market is now 59%, saving that much in airplaine emissions, noise, etc... (Eurostar press release, 14/09/04).

Finally, airline kerosene fuel is exempt of tax duty... Yet another way to favour air travel...

Links: Hacan Clearskies

No comments: