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"The truth is Heathrow does not need to expand. It would do far better to focus on improving its existing cpacity."

Is this guy serious? Heathrow's at capacity already, so how could it possibly do this?

"The Government's ostensible fear is that if we don't expand Heathrow, we will jeopardise the competitiveness of our aviation industry. ButHeathrow is already the world's busiest international airport"

Eh? If this is the case, then we've got a lot to lose if we don't expand capacity. If this is the best reasoning he can come up with, I'm rather worried for his potential constituents...

Somebody shut this quack up. He's an embarrassment to the Party.

Adam: You won't have further comments approved if you don't enter into reasonable arguments. Just throwing insults around adds nothing to anyone's understanding of anything.

"The truth is Heathrow does not need to expand. It would do far better to focus on improving its existing capacity."

I agree with that, Heathrow is becoming a horrible place to venture as a customer. When do you say enough is enough at one airport?
I am not sure that we should ask the surrounding area to take anymore expansion, just how much more air traffic can it sustain safely?

Whilst I'm not sure if Goldsmith is right or not BAA should address his points in detail.The points about ever expanding airport capacity is well made.
BAA have been both arrogant and cavalier with regards to the Stansted enquiry where they can't even get the support of several airlines that use the airport. Consequently I'm beginning to think they'll lose it.

Here is the man who (alledgedly) uses a helicopter to get to his home in Wiltshire at the weekend.

No one likes to be told what to do, least of all by someone who is doing the opposite.

Incidently Why do we not try to expand Manston? there are some very compelling reasons to do so

1. it is off the main drag of London Air Traffic Control, so take off and landing can be quicker
2. it is not much further from London than Stanstead
3. having the interchange there would give a compelling reason for grotwork rail to upgrade the Canterbury-Ashford line, which would bring the London interchange to check in time down to aound 3/4 hour
4. It would provide employment in a desperately poor part of Kent (Just ask R Gale)
5. Generally the people of the area would support it.

Aviation brings enormous benefits to this country, why does Goldsmith never mention that. No industry has improved its technology to the extent aviation has, these attacks are ill founded and unfair.

Fair points, david but on the subject of Heathrow, I have quite a lot of sympathy. It has become one of the most un-user-friendly airports in the world both when you are there and in terms of getting to and from it. I am not convinced that pumping yet more aircraft into the already packed skies of West London is the answer, with or without a third runway. I also agree with Malcolm about Stansted.

"these attacks are ill founded and unfair."

Not if you live under a flight path, which is hell, but to have an infinitely expanding Heathrow is to have an infinite number of people subject to its environmental blight.

The only reason Heathrow is the success it is, is because it has the States patronage, which allows it to annex the living environment of the communities of SW London and exploit them to its hearts content. If it had to compensate people for the damage it was doing, it would have long ago decided that having an airport sited on the edge of a city which required over flying the city for 70% of its operations, was not economic prospect and moved to a less costly area.

If we are being asked to pay road tolls to use the roads, and if the Conservatives believe in property rights, then surely the Conservative solution to this problem should be for the state to withdraw its patronage from Heathrow airport, and have the airport negotiate with the local communities it was blighting to compensate them for their loss of living environment, such as charging a toll for each aircraft that over flew their homes. In this way it would be the market which determined the development of Heathrow, rather than states patronage, and if they could make the costs work to build another runway, well that’s between them and the people they would have to compensate.

Of course if someone proposed a new airport there would be people against that as well. Maybe more use of the new large Airbus will help by reducing the number of planes needed to shift people from existing airports. In addition tax aimed not at users but inefficiencies in some operators plus a fast North-South rail link to make rail travel much better for internal transport in UK.


We are meant to believe in property rights and an ever expanding airport using State compulsary purchase powers rather flies in the face of this. Besides, we can't just go on expanding airports forever, where will it end?

Aviation blights people's lives. If they had to pay true compensation, they'd all go bust tomorrow. The disgusting attitude of BAA at Stansted shows their true colours, we cannot just let a company ruin a whole area by forever drawing more proposed new runways and terminals on ordnance survey maps. Sometimes you feel that they [BAA and the Gov] think they are playing SimCity or something - these are real places and real people being affected.

With one third of flights being transit only, they have got capacity to shift anyway.

It seems to me that continually expanding Heathrow is a big mistake.
I work in the offshore oil industry usually travelling overseas to the Far East. There is a large contingent of oil industry commuters from Aberdeen and Scotland who travel overseas,, for us all Heathrow is very unpopular and has been for the past 10 years, frankly its an abortion and a very poor advertisement for foreign people coming to the UK.
The most popular commuting airport for all oilfiled people is Amsterdams Schipol.
I confess to not know anything about Manston airport but it seems to me time they considered a brand new airport, based on the same successful design as Schipol.
I don,t know who designed the departure lounges at terminal 4 Heathrow but they look like glorified Nissan Huts.

I'm not sure where I stand on this, but consider the following.

I remember some years ago it was estimated that to keep the motorways going they'd have to expand to 26 lanes or some such by 2020/2050. Now if we are to say that Heathrow needs to expand to keep up with demand, does that mean the same must happen to the motorways?

It's easy to say the airport expansion should go ahead when we don't live under the flight paths. If Heathrow is getting overcrowded it's because too many flights are going in & out. Once Terminal 5 is open the airport should not do what it's done in the past, which is get as many flights in as possible and then pack that new terminal out. It should look at what's balanced. If it can't get the third runway or it will be delayed, it should turn away some new routes/planes. The passengers don't deserve to be treated like cattle and the local residents shouldn't be kept up at all hours.

There are, after all, several other airports around London. That does not mean Heathrow does not need to expand, but it's just plain silly not to consider whether there are alternatives. I also don't believe that airport expansion should continue indefinitely just because a lot of people want to use planes. And, please, don't say it's going to crash the economy without hard evidence from someone other than the airlines/airports.

Well done Zac - a well thought out piece, critical of the gov whilst avoiding deep green rhetoric. Congrats.

Zac Goldsmith is himself no more than a vested interest, just because he has fallen hook, line and sinker for the new left's house religion of climate change hysteria does not mean that he needs to be taken seriosuly. He shouldn't.

Mr Angry, it's not got to be anything about climate change. You don't have to be a "new left" hysteric to hate seeing countryside and communities ruined for ever expanding airports, or to not want to be woken by low flying aircraft!

People who support airport expansion generally do not live near them. The State should not force such a damaging construction upon other people, it is a gross infringement of property rights.

"One in three people using Heathrow never even leave the airport and therefore add very little value to the UK economy."

But these people are on flights with passengers who do leave the airport, i.e. visitors to London and the rest of the country. You cannot tell airlines not to accept transfer passengers. Goldsmith simply does not understand basic transport issues. He is a dirigiste in the old Heathite mould.

More greenie anti-progress nonsense from Zac. We as a party really need to distance ourselves from this guy.

If they decide not to develop Heathrow further, can I suggest that instead BAA move out to my neck of the woods and buy up Lyneham once the RAF finish with it in a few years time? Only an hour's drive from London down the M4, and some of us would love to have an international airport in our backyard!

"It's easy to say the airport expansion should go ahead when we don't live under the flight paths. If Heathrow is getting overcrowded it's because too many flights are going in & out. Once Terminal 5 is open the airport should not do what it's done in the past"

Raj, unfortunately I did live in SW London, and am now what you might call a refugee from the blight Heathrow brought to my area, for I couldn't stand the aircraft noise anymore, sold up and moved out.

But as to Heathrow, well they play the political game very well, for when ever they came up to capacity/movement limits they twisted the arm of the relevant Government Minister, and got them changed. The night curfew was from 11pm to 7am until they got a Conservative minister to declare the night ended one hour earlier at 6am, this along with the inexorable rise in flight movements both day and the night flying quota. So really the night curfew went from 11pm to 4 am when all the flights from the far east started coming in on the night curfew quota. So while the health department suggested 8 hours sleep was normal, the transport department had decided the residents of SW London should exist on 5 hours.

Then of course there was the never ending expansion of the airport, where one declared limit was seen by BAA as just a temporary pause before they could exert enough pressure on the next transport minister to get the next phase of their expansion underway. So the definite limit set at Terminal 4 soon became the limit at Terminal 5, and the BAA's undertaking that Terminal 5 wouldn't need third runway or scrap the runway alternation, was forgotten as soon as the had terminal 5 being built then out came their plans to scrap the runway alternation and propose a third runway.

Then of course was their bass neck lies about Heathrow’s effect on the road traffic in the area. Those opposing T5 made the case that the M3, M4, M25 corridor wouldn’t be able to take the road traffic demand of Heathrow’s expansion, No, no cried Heathrow, our staff will come by public transport, so everything is alright, that was until the Government had the ex boss of BAA, Sir John Egan do a traffic analysis, who suggested that because of critical bottle necks, like the M3, M4, M25 corridor area, people should be priced off the roads. So Heathrow hasn’t only annexed the living environment of the people living in SW London without any compensation, it is also going to annex the bloody road network as well.

The lessons I learnt from my time living in SW London, was that no British Government was to be trusted, whether by seeing a different administration come to power, so all promises given were worthless, arm twisting, or getting a Government Minister to give the go ahead because he couldn’t electorally care about the people being blighted, ( Prescott would have very little regard for the people of Richmond upon Thames), or flattery ( the very first people to come calling on Prescott and Blair were Ayling and Egan, who fell over themselves to help Blair with his big tent at Greenwich) what ever no British Government could be trusted, for they change, the ambitions of Heathrow don’t.. There is also the issue with planning hearings, these too are worthless, and seemingly only there to rubber stamp the scheme, which gives the developer the legal right to deprive people of their property, or use of their property. This is why I say that the State should be removed from the process or giving patronage to the airport, and then make the airport and its users negotiate with the people over whom it flies and communities it blights, for if we can be forced to pay a toll to go down a road, then I see no reason why an aircraft can't be made a pay a toll to the community and people it over flies.

So my remedy is to get the State out of the patronage business, restore the property right to the people who own the property , and let the market decide on the expansion of Heathrow.

Tend to agree that Heathrow is already too busy - aircraft stacking up over London might be relieved by another runway but the air traffic is already filling available air corridors. Too many people, long queues. Need to spread the growth and support direct flights from provincial airports.

Still when I try Virgin Atlantic's new Upper Class Wing next week with it's separate security channel I'm sure I'll reconsider....

Conservative PCC for constituency on LHR flightpath slags off BAA. Not many surprised.

"Here is the man who (alledgedly) uses a helicopter to get to his home in Wiltshire at the weekend."

That should read "Here is the man who uses the train to get to his home in Devon on those increasingly rare weekends when he's not campaigning in Richmond"

It's the truth but that wouldn't fit in so well with your 'Zac is a hypocrit' narrative, would it?

"Still when I try Virgin Atlantic's new Upper Class Wing next week with it's separate security channel I'm sure I'll reconsider...."

ooh, somebody's got a generous employer if they will pay for that for you, LOL. Enjoy!

"Here is the man who (alledgedly) uses a helicopter to get to his home in Wiltshire at the weekend."

And that is the problem, isn't it. These things only become a problem when the masses can afford to do them. People will say 'why should I give up my Easyjet flight when others have private jets'? A view I have some sympathy with, to be fair.

It's a shame there are some (thankfully not that many) personal attacks on Zac (some of them based on incorrect and pretty guttery 'facts'). His report with Gummer may not have been well-received by all but the fact is that he is out there campaigning for our party and working for our party and we should appreciate his efforts, which do rather more to further our cause than some of the comments by armchair politico-nerds who come on here to advance views that neither enlighten nor encourage. Rant aside, and not having read the piece, I can only say as a neo-Londoner that it seems to make much more sense to expand Stanstead, which offered me a much more relaxed airport experience than Heathrow, and which has good transport links to London (which can be developed). Heathrow can't expand forever and there must come a point when attentions have to be diverted. This is not a 'quack' view. If it is I know a great many (Conservative voting, at the moment) quacks.

David Breaker, just FYI where I live is under both one of the Heathrow holding points and also an approach to Stansted that seems to be particularly popular for early morning landings. So I do suffer from aircraft noise too, although not to the same level as those who chose to live under the Heathrow approach path which was most likely there before they were.

The increasing use of planes, and so the perceived need to expand airports, is a genie that once out of the bottle cannot be replaced. Whether it is popular in Richmond or not there is going to be an expansion of airport capacity in the London catchment area come what may. The sensible approach is to manage that capacity increae, to spread it out amongst existing airports and not simply go for a massive expansion in one place.

Aircraft are becoming quieter and less polluting all the time and to a certain extent that will balance more of them flying in terms of the disbenefits caused. Ultimately however, as in all other policy areas, we should not promise what we cannot deliver and there is no genuine chance to halt the expansion of airport capacity for London and so we should not kid people that we can achieve that.

Whilst I think Zac is being a tad short-sighted and I don't agree with a point-blank moratorium on airport expansion, the point is that he is simply being a Good Candidate and thinking of his constituents in Richmond Park who are directly under the flight path!! Everyone knows that the first duty of a Member of Parliament is to stand up for the interests of his Constituents and Zac is simply taking his duties seriously. All credit to him for that. By the way, I don't care for some of the personal attacks on him. Zac is clearly personable and competent and chaired a good session at the Womens Conference yesterday (even though he did get in a bit of a muddle with Questions from the Floor towards the end!!)

I thought Party policy was to support the expansion of Heathrow. In that case, Goldsmith is speaking publicly against established party policy and should be asked to explain his comments. He is a candidate and is clearly opposing party policy and undermining it.

If you want to concrete over the entire SE of England into a giant terminal and runway conglomerate (the logical extension for those who react with horror at the thought of a Tory saying "actually, it might be nice to keep some countryside"), your closest political soul-mate is John Prescott. No more airports or expansion thereof in the South East; none; ever.

Why can't Zac just go poke off.
I live in Twickenham, the Middlesex and poor relation part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
I moved here knowing about Heathrow and indeed the RFU Stadium.
Zac is just parroting all the NIMBY's who didn't do their due diligence and now find planes overhead; as when they did viewing, the sellers and estate agents cannily waited until the alternate runway working came into play mitigating the overhead effects of aircraft noise.
Most people learn to accept the noise which becomes part of the background.
The economic impact of Heathrow cannot be downplayed in the area, along with the convenience for travel.

I live 10 mins from Heathrow. It is already too big and a nightmare to fly from. Why should one industry be allowed to blight the quality of life of millions of people living under the flight paths? Imagine Heathrow was a very noisy smelly factory - do you really think it could continue expanding without the neighbours complaining? I know you are all intelligent people so please don't be brainwashed by the aviation lobby.

Noise from aircraft in Richmond is trivial with a very narrow affect along the flight path. The railway line is noisier including in the middle of night when maintenance and freight trains rattle through. Would also suggest that cery rich residents of Richmond fly more times per head than anyone else in the country and that a lot of their jobs depend on being near in an international airport. Also by taking a 30 year old FGW 125 with its knackered old diesel engines to the West Country he is using the most polluting from of transport in this country. Should use a nice modern car instead.

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