Dithering and procrastination are just two of the phrases used to describe the current Government over its hesitation to implement extra UK runways for the future of its air transport requirements.
Other speakers at the Runways conference in London were simply saying, “build it”! Referring to the recently published report by Sir Howard Davies.
This two day conference dealing with the important issue of the UK runways and their possible expansion. Many of delegates and speakers point out that the UK is certainly missing out to the likes of Paris, Charles de Gaul and Amsterdam’s Schiphol if development does not go ahead in London.
Both those European airports are operating as hub airports and not only do they have more runways, Amsterdam for instance has 6 and Paris 4 but Heathrow may have 2 and the possibility of having 3 but how long will it take for that extra runway to be built and allow London to compete properly?
The answer, at least another 5 or 10 years. However not only does London lag behind both of them it has virtually missed the gate with France and the Netherlands both having spare runway capacity and expansion potential right now, whereas Heathrow has years just to try to catch up!
London’s Heathrow is nearly running at full capacity, Gatwick is fairly close too. And although relegated in the report Gatwick needs a second runway and in fact has a good plan in place but it requires the politicians to step up and earn their keep and start to make decisions rather than duck or avoid them which is basically what Lord Adonis was saying in his address to the conference.
Procrastination by politicians and business leader Michael Ward from Harrods was quick to complain on that subject for his sector too. There has been too many years of dithering by the political leaders over this issue.
One speaker also pointed out that greater airport capacity and new runways is a subject that has been in the political domain for 50 years and the UK will miss out hugely if it does not make the decision and start to build new runways without delay.
With Heathrow now the front-runner the airport are moving to build a case with their local residents and even the compulsory purchase of some nearly 800 homes adjacent to the them has been boosted with a 25% premium over market value of those homes may help to ease things there.
Whereas another group of currently around a 100,000 local residents are very keen to see the development of this new UK runway go ahead.
They realise the potential for growth in employment and business in the area and are actively raising their profile as they feel the anti lobby has had too much say and does not reflect the true feeling of those living around Heathrow.