Wednesday 16 December 2020

Timing is everything

How ironic, after all these years we finally get a legal approval for the 3rd runway at Heathrow. Not for not to rehearse in depth the oddness of our planning system that allows NIMBY's to hold up major national infrastructure.

Instead to marvel at what must now be the ruins of the economic case put forward by the BAA and the airlines about how necessary this is for capacity. As I have said before, we won't be worrying about capacity as the airlines are closing rapidly and the price of slots at Heathrow, I understand, is collapsing. Heathrow currently is not even the busiest airport in Europe at the moment, having fallen behind Charles de Gaulle and Schipol. 

So of course, let's go an build a 3rd runway now. Maybe by the time it is actually done air travel will have recovered, I have a hunch though that climate change puritanism is also going to have a bigger and bigger impact in future years, now that Finance Directors have discovered how cheap zoom is. 


dearieme said...

Could HS2 be redesigned to serve the Heathrow third runway?

Nick Drew said...

all of these things are pure Keynsianism

- LHR3
- HS2
- Drax / CCS / BECCS
- ...etc etc

andrew said...

Not sure about Drax
£1bn subsidy to keep ~3000 people in a job.
That is about 300K per job per annum

... where do I apply?

E-K said...


We're fighting the last war by building runways and HS2.

Super connectivity is what will be needed for the virtual reality revolution that is so obviously on its way.

My kids already spend a significant part of their lives in it.

It solves much of our transport and green issues - alas it removes the advantages that I thought Brexit Britain was going to have (a world beating metropolis.)

Don Cox said...

E M Forster's story "The Machine Stops", written before World War 1, tells you what it will be like. Everyone stays in their own room, never coming out, and communication is on screens via the Internet.

Don Cox

Old BE said...

Great book

Old BE said...

Zoom is great, but I think people are itching to go back to real meetings. Business is so much more than the transactional: relationships and trust are vital so meeting and getting to know people properly is still going to be a big thing.

Personally, I’d prefer to greenify air travel rather than curtail it. Mass cheap travel has done more for world peace and harmony than the UN ever did.

jim said...

Roll forward 10 years. Covid a distant memory, Brexit - who knows, Covid MkII a prepared for possibility.

If I were spending the money I would be a bit chary. Planning permission will take ages - a good thing because it puts off the evil day of committing to serious money. Not obvious it will get built in the next 20 years.

Back when the runway looked likely the compo for those houses to be demolished looked to be around 1.25*market value. This after endless reports and studies costing a fortune. All for around 2500 houses. But where is anyone who works in that area (no-one lives there by choice) going to find another house within spitting range of their old one? Then 2500 buyers coming on the market in short order means 1.25* is derisory. Best to have another decade of reports and studies costing a fortune. Or we could do what the Frogs do. Decide on a route and pay a decent payout to p^&s off.

Anyway, the can is kicked well down the road, a PRQ for most politicians.

James Higham said...

The golden rule - delay until it no longer matters.

Don Cox said...

What happened to Maplin Airport ?

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

The irony of this timing is absolutely wonderful. Pure comedy gold. Beyond Yes, Minister levels of absurdity.

-- EC

Elby the Beserk said...

Didn't some bloke called Boris Johnson say a 3rd runway would have to be built over his dead body?

E-K said...

Unknown @ 9.47

Undoubtedly staying in one room all the time would be unhealthy. It does appear that we're headed towards living at least partially like that.

We certainly won't be travelling around en masse as we used to.

I watched Bill Bailey live at the Apollo on YouTube last night (a recording) and looked at the audience packed in there. Did we really live like that ??? (Going to comedy/theatre shows was one of my favourite activities.)

I have an awful feeling that is not coming back for a long while. Two years by the time we're done - at least.

A good virtual reality experience where you're sitting there with people all around you would sell well. You could even have a show where no-one turns up late for their middle seat and forces you to stand up, uses their mobile, coughs, farts or eats boiled sweets from crinckley wrappers.

So not all bad.