Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why is the governement pushing to increase number of night flights?

However, those assumptions are biased, to say the least:
  • A direct relation between economic growth and the need for air travel is far from being proven, as remote working and telecommunication change our daily lives
  • Why should air travel continue to be subsidised at a rate of £557 per tax payer and per annum while alternatives such as fast trains are not being promoted and funded? Why also should flying to the South of Spain be cheaper than taking the train to Penzance?
  • There are major international 5 airports around London, against only 2 in Paris and one in other major economic capitals. The fact that BA and BAA would be more competitive with 3 runways at Heathrow may be true, but that’s another statement. Why anyway would Londoners need to pay the price of BAA and BA’s profits? Unless they are suggesting giving free share options to people living under the flight paths, I see no reasons.

  • The agenda of those lobbies go directly against the welfare of 1m people living under the flight path and does not consider the indirect costs at any point:
  • why should they tolerate more aircraft pollution?
  • why should they tolerate more aircraft noise, especially at night?
  • Why should they tolerate more congestion, taxes, etc?

  • Heathrow itself was built on farmland using war-time regulation to avoid a public enquiry and is badly located: it's to my knowledge one of the only European airports to be built on the West side and at short distance of a capital or major city. Given the winds in Europe are dominantly Westerly or Easterly this is quite a poor planning decision. It explains the huge environmental impact of Heathrow and why over 1m Londoners live directly under the flight path. In this respect, Gatwick, Stansted or Luton are much more sensibly located and are closer to main communications link.

    Read this for more on how the South East Regional Air Study neglected indirect costs. In tax only, the negative balance is £8.5 billions in favour of the air travel lobbies… Little has been done to quantify the direct and indirect impact of aircraft noise and pollution.

    In conclusion, the massive subsidy enjoyed by air travel and on the other side the equally large but little researched induced costs is based on flimsy economic assumption. If only a small part of those direct and indirect costs and if tax subsidies were removed, Heathrow could DOWNSIZE!

    Links: HACAN ClearSkies


    Anonymous said...
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    Anonymous said...

    Superb post. Ive been a Richmond resident for 2 years (and a SW London resident for almost 8) and I can honestly say that at times you have to wonder what the hell is happening when those 747's come careering down at 6am (like this morning)!