Given today’s opening with the news full of the current Transport Secretary,Justine Greening, seemingly in trouble as Cameron and the Tories seek to move the ground towards a third runway at Heathrow, it seems sensible to follow up from my post of a few days ago.
Aviation is a difficult subject, a bit like HS2. As major infrastructure of national importance it gets filed under the heading of difficult massive public argument, hated by locals who try to derail at every opportunity, business community is pro, everyone else doesn’t quite follow…
We do need more aviation capacity in order to compete and thrive. The link between excellent transport connectivity and economic growth and prosperity is solid and true. But do we need more capacity in the South East? really?
Heathrow and the other London airports have created a virtuous circle of truth whereby they fill up with passengers from across the country, they attract all the airlines and destinations, and then justify needing further space. They bring jobs and wealth to the surrounding area too. But if everyone else in the country didnt use the London airports because their airports were better served, then the South East aviation capacity would be fine.
So why don’t we instead focus on having more than 1 or 2 hub airports and why not have them where the rest of the country can easily access them without having to get stuck in the already clogged up London and South East transport network????
I am an advocate for a brand new 4 runway Birmingham airport next to the proposed HS2 Birmingham Interchange station. The site will have fantastic road and rail links and is equidistant between the city centres of Birmingham and Coventry as well as being easily accessible to a huge population across the Midlands, Wales and beyond.
Germany has 5, soon to be 6, major international hub airports – why don’t we spread the load? why do we have to keep on following the Heathrow orthodoxy fed to us by BAA and BA and London First? There will come a point where the air is full around the south east. why not share the burden and the benefit of aviation across a wider part of the country?
Great Britain does need more capacity for all modes of transport. When it comes to aviation we need to expand our major airports, but not in the South East. Build a new Birmingham Airport with 4 runways and use it as the means for expanding national capacity. And with a high speed rail shuttle between it and Heathrow (and Manchester Airport as well) we can bring integrated journeys and ticketing between these airports to make easy seamless journeys for passengers.
It’s a no-brainer – Ms Greening, given your position, why not take this, speak with Maria Eagle and get a sensible balanced aviation policy in the whole national interest.