Geoff Hoon has just informed the Commons that a third runway at Heathrow is essential to Britain’s economic prospects.
I have never understood why it is essential to our economy that a gentleman flying indirect from, say, Dubai to Phoenix, should change his plane in Heathrow rather than Paris. It is that kind of transit traffic which accounts for over 90% of the additional capacity BAA is seeking.
If more people do that, we will get some more landing fees; the passenger might buy a cup of coffee in the airport. But these gains are outweighed by the costs in air and noise pollution. Our slender chances of meeting climate change targets will be greatly dented.
Hoon suggested that the extra aviation emissions could be offset by increased use of electric cars. He could have rephrased that by saying that any gains from increased use of electric cars would be lost by increased aircraft emissions.
We are used to New Labour being completely in the pocket of private business interests. But the doublespeak about how a third runway is environmentally friendly makes me puke.