Sunday 18 March 2012
Whither a new Airport in London?
Now the current Government has also decided not to fight some battles, firstly a replacement Trident has been postponed until the next Parliament. More worryingly is the dither over a new runway for the South East.
Air travel has become controversial, but one thing it is good for is jobs and business. Airports employments tens of thousands of people and the trade generated is enormous. Sadly, these also come with pollution in the form of noise and air pollution.
What is clear though is that there is a need for more capacity in the South East of England. Either Heathrow needs a new runway or somewhere else in the South needs to be developed. However, due to power of local campaigning no Government wants to face this challenge. Indeed, it is left of Boris Johnson as Mayor of London to try and promote a new airport?
However, despite the constant pressure, and Richard Branson is joining in today in asking more more capacity, there seems no prospect of success.
This is a bad failure for the UK that its politicians no longer have the strength to lead the Country to make long-term decisions on infrastructure. You can't worry about a market here, when planning is needed then it is under the Government control no matter what the private sector might want.
In the future though the UK is going to struggle unless as way of politicians to gain some leadership ability is found. No new airports, power stations or other key infrastructure will get built - anything controversial that takes longer than a Parliament is likely to be sidelined.
Does this type of development need to be removed from political process in the same way as we now have an OBR to stop politicians recklessly spending money like the last Labour Government?