Decision time at Heathrow

January 12, 2009

The government has approved the third Heathrow runway, in the interests of jobs and British competitiveness.

The third runway — something airport operator BAA pledged it would not seek if it was granted permission to build Terminal 5 — will open up a sharp political divide, with several Labour MPs, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed to the idea.

A cross-party parliamentary group is expected to be formed this week to press for the construction of an airport in the Thames estuary, an idea that has the backing of London mayor Boris Johnson, and protest groups like Plane Stupid and Climate Rush say they will hold protests.

Which side are you on in the Heathrow debate?


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I live in Isleworth under the Heathrow flight path and have done so all my life. I choose to stay here as noise from planes can no longer be heard from the comforts of my home of work place in Feltham.

Heathrow should be expaneded, an additional two runways would stop the endless ewnquires and money wasting these ridiculous environmental groups are causing. Residents who are opposed to the expansion on noise grounds have a simple choice move somewhere more comfortable we are not in communist country like Russia or China.

It simply makes no sense to jeopardise hundreds of thousands of jobs for the “so called” environmental issues. Where does this all stop, when no-one has a holidays does not drive anywhere to see anyone, only eats what they can grow in their garden and does not use energy for fear of persecution by the green police.

The government should stand up to these bullies, take prudent environmental steps but also do what is necessary to protect and enhance the UK economy and thus the people it serves.

Posted by Amit Gupta | Report as abusive

I do not agree with having a third runway at Heathrow. Not only do I think it would wreck the environment even further, create an even worse jam-up than we already have, and be contrary to the EU (and UK) environmental targets and laws, but it also seems completely wrong for BAA to break its word, given when allowed to build Terminal 5, and for the government to support that. It makes it all lies, lies, lies, greed and stupidity, not dissimilar to the cause of the banking crisis we are now experiencing. I also think an airport in the Thames Estuary is perfectly feasible and a good solution.

Posted by Peter Dawkins | Report as abusive

As my name implies, i live in cheshire. However, wherever anyone lives in the UK, the decision on Heathrow will have long-lasting consequences. In my opinion, anyone with half a brain can see that a third runway at Heathrow is a stupid decision, which will only benefit a minority of vested interests. If we believe in the future of the UK, then the Thames estuary option is the only one that should be considered. The decision then is not if, but when. Once the cretins in central government have been persuaded, then other decisions; such as a high speed rail network throughout the UK, incorporating the new airport, can be developed.

Posted by john in cheshire | Report as abusive

I find it unbelievable that the tories should oppose a the expansion of Heathrow when both business leaders and trade union leaders say it is so important to our economic wellbeing.
Shouldn’t David Cameron join the Green party?Or is this just another example of opposition for the sake of it?

Posted by Roger Potter | Report as abusive

The Thames Estuary airport is not a good option. The 340-odd offshore wind turbines will interfere with radar to say nothing of the millions of birds in the area who will dramatically increase the risk of a hull loss incident.

Heathrow should get one more runway but that will likely be the last one. After that, a new UK hub will be needed, linked into high-speed rail to the entire island as well as Europe. At best, this is a stopgap, though one which is badly needed.

Posted by Neil Cochrane | Report as abusive

As far as this creates more jobs whats the big deal?
People who protest need to get a job and let be what is decided.
If we need another runway, We need another runway.
I’m sure they havent decided to build out of boredom

Posted by srj | Report as abusive

Having just approved a climate change bill with a legally binding objective of cutting our emissions by 80% by 2050 the government now proposes to expand Heathrow and thereby virtually guarantee failing to meet those emissions targets. Is there any intelligence at work here?
We Britons are already the most intensive fliers of any nation and our environment, both locally around Heathrow and globally, cannot take further increases in our demand for aviation. The economic case too is spurious with only the narrow interests of British Airways, Ferrovial (BAA) and construction companies standing to gain, while for most businesses this is an irrelevance as demonstrated by a recent poll on the issue.

Posted by Mark Crutchley | Report as abusive

People are obsessed with nothing ever changing. Well get over it as the world is changing. This was once the proudest country in the world, but people have lost site of that. We need to embrace change and then help those people as bet we can, not fight everything for the sake of it. Would people prefer we get rid of all progress and go live in mud huts again.

Posted by Sean Carter | Report as abusive

Ownership of your house and the land it stands on means nothing to this Socialist Government. At the same time it is allowing foreign companies to buy up British businesses. As I understand it, BAA is Spanish-owned (correct me if I am wrong) so are the inhabitants of the area to be destroyed by the Third Runway a victim of Spanish Practices?

Posted by Jimmer XXX | Report as abusive

The decision was entirely predictable and another sign of the mind-numbing lack of imagination which is stifling the country.

Anyone looking just a few years ahead can see that there is no future whatsoever for domestic flights within the UK mainland, but there is a desperate need for better railways. The correct action now would be to build a new transport hub at Heathrow, together with the new high speed rail lines proposed by opponents of the third runway, then to ban domestic mainland flights and free up the existing runways at Heathrow for foreign flights.

A sustainable solution for the future benefit of the whole country, instead of a white elephant built for the narrow interests of an industry which is being overtaken by new technology.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Banning Domestic flights? ONly someone with shares in Virgin or GWR would say that. £340 first class business ticket from London to Birmingham *BY RAIL* only £185 by plane. I haven’t flown anywhere for ten years so intend to use up my allowance in an orgy of needless flying, and then be ferried to the Airport by Hummer, whilst towing an Elephant, which will be killed and eaten and tusks used to make Umbrella stands, Like the Good Ole days.

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive