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Better to 'dither' about the right decision than to stick by the wrong decision regardless of the facts.

In live near Egham in Surrey about 10 miles from Heathrow. Our roads and skies are already overcrowded and the last thing we want is another runway and even more congestion.

Fortunately our MP Philip Hammond and his party are opposing this mad scheme.Not very "green" is it, either?

Theresa Villiers is right to criticise the government for dithering but she dithers herself on how to expand airport capacity. High speed rail is a good idea, but not one that is a substitute for increased airport capacity.

-opposes the expansion of Heathrow
-opposes the expansion of Stansted
-opposes the expansion of Gatwick
-opposes a Thames Estuary airport (even though the Mayor of London has yet to present his findings)
-stays quiet on expansion at London City
-stays quiet on expansion at Luton-
-says nothing at all about the various requests from people on these pages about expanding Manston
-stays quiet about the demand from many on these pages to protect preoperty from Compulsory Purchase Orders (obviously because high speed rail will, itself, require hundreds of CPOs)
-continues to bash BAA at every opportunity for being a monopoly despite Gatwick being up for auction right now
-continues to bash BAA at every opportunity for not investing in Heathrow despite extensive plans from the company for the Heathrow East project and the success of Terminal 5, obviously failing to recognise that one of the biggest issues with Heathrow is the lack of runway capacity for an international hub airport

To top that list off, the biggest failing of all in the last few weeks has been the utter failure of the shadow transport team has failed to campaign on the 112.5% increase in air passenger duty announced in the pre-budget report. This will affect hundreds of families, individuals and businesses by adding hundreds of pounds onto flights (and that's before airport fees go up through the roof because of government failure to create extra airport capacity).

Yes, the government is absolutely wrong to dither, but those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

No, Edward, it isn't. Not that the government cares, because none of its members live in an area that would be affected.

Although I don't agree with generic "NIMBY" positions as that means you can never build anything noisy/smelly anywhere convenient, a third runway for Heathrow:

a) is pointless (will not be a full-length runway);
b) will inflict misery on very large numbers of people;
c) is unneccessary (Gatwick could be expanded ahead of the limitation date if there was political will).

For too many people Heathrow has become a silly talisman. Just accept that it was a terrible place to build an international airport and focus on Gatwick.

Plus get rid of at least some of those bloomin' transit passengers that do nothing for the UK other than make extra profit for BAA. They just make the airport crowded for people who want to actually fly from/to London!

Raj. It is all about the airline profits, nothing else. As for the Airtrack Rail Link, if that goes through four level crossings round here will be closed for an EXTRA 45 minutes an hour and no they can`t build bridges or tunnels. You can imagine the outcry round here this idiotic scheme has caused. Two level crossings in Egham are already criticised for the long delays caused by closures.

These people are living on another planet.

Raj - if you think there's issues around expanding Heathrow, Gatwick would be even more problematic in terms of listed buildings and so forth.

Heathrow was indeed a stupid place to build a massive international hub airport but we are where we are.

As for your comments on transit passengers, they do add an awful lot to the economy of the UK. Without Heathrow being a hub, it would lose a substantial number of direct flights. Flights that consist of 50% transit passengers and 50% point-to-point passengers will only run because of the fact that Heathrow is a hub. If you get rid of the transit passengers, you get rid of the airport as a hub and Franfurt, Paris and Amsterdam will happily take them on because they are very valuable.

I accept that on the face of it, transit passengers seem to be pointless for the country they are passing through, but in the big scheme of things, they are what makes a major international airport what it is. Take Detroit, a major hub for NWA and Skyteam - you can travel almost anywhere in the states from Detroit and for that reason, it is an excellent place to base a business, yet the vast majority of passengers are transit passengers.

I cannot understand Gareth`s comments that transit passengers "add an awful lot" to our economy. In what way?
In visits to the USA over many years I never visited Detroit, but never had any difficulty in travelling anywhere else in that country from Chicago or Atlanta. The word hub is meaningless.

Rather than worrying about air travel,which in my assessment is in terminal decline.I feel we should be more concerned about building some much needed generating capacity. To his great credit Brown has cleared the way for new nuclear reactors to be commissioned but so far nothing concrete seems to be forthcoming. We really do need to have a least two more power stations built and running by 2015 yet nothing seems to be happening. If we don’t break ground soon we will have no choice but to cut back on our energy consumption. Perhaps this is just another symptom of a government that is at its fag end. The legacy of this governrmnts lame duck session will be with us for many years to come.

Edward - it is because of transferring passengers that UK passengers and those travelling directly to the UK, rather than simply transferring here, are able to fly on the varied range of flights that they currently can. Without the hub status and the large number of passengers who use Heathrow as a hub, those flights would simply cease to exist as they would only be half-full.

Sorry Jenni, I just don`t get it. All the benefit (i.e.money) will go to the airlines and airport authority and all the people within a 20 mile radius of Heathrow will suffer. Anyway, people round here are so mad, especially about the Airtrack rail link it will never happen.

Let some continental airport take over the honour of being the busiest in Europe.

In terms of people within a 20 mile radius of Heathrow, I imagine that a vast majority knew they were moving next to an international airport when they bought their houses. If they entered into it with their eyes wide open, then there are no complaints. Housing around Heathrow is cheaper as a compensation (due to market forces).

For what it`s worth, I`ve lived in the area for over 70 yeears, before the airport was thought of. Property round here, believe it or not is dearer, not cheaper, due to the large number of airport workers. And if they are allowed to build the third runway, yet more people and the demand for housing will therefore increase.

The transit argument is a bit flimsy to be honest. The UK is the World's fourth largest economy, a centre of global finance, with that economic power heavily concentrated in London and the South East. It is totally inconceivable that the loss of transit flights would reduce the direct route availability from London in any meaningful way. London is London, it has enough demand to warrent the direct flights on it's own.

The "we're at Heathrow now so we may as well stay" argument is also wrong. We may have infrastructure already at Heathrow, but these are sunk costs. We must look long term and the only long term answer is Boris Island - the choice Brunel would make. Why blight millions when in the end this is the only answer. Anything else is like Brunel deciding to widen canals rather than build the Great Western Railway.

Airport expansion is a surefire way to lose every winnable seat in London and many more. It's political madness, which may explain Brown's dithering and internal party disagreement.

The argument for Heathrow development does not add up.

1. Transit passengers 'pay' for the international flights out of the UK.

No, they do not, just the latest in a series of lies from BAA. Flights are already in-bound. If flight numbers reduce, the landing slot is released and another carrier will take it up with a viable route. Net loss/gain = 0.

Incidentally, those landing slots, if released to auction (triggered by a aircraft utilisation threshold), capacity could be increased simply by putting more bums on seats.

Even at 99% capacity, lightly filled or empty aircraft still leave Heathrow.

2. The residents, looking at the independent projections, another 150,000 people are put under wider and longer flight plans into Heathrow at the 57db LEQ and 63db LEQ, sufficient levels to disturb sleep.

Flights start at 5am and often late finish beyond 12pm. PM10 & NO2 (in an already heavily polluted area) will breech EU 2010 levels for another 30,000 people. The prospect of future legal action by this legislation from residents should have killed this from day one.

3. Cost of travel. Take the VAT exemption on aviation lease & purchase deals for aircraft, tickets and fuel. The Treasury is short of some £4-7bn a year.

As for jobs, studies have shown that unemployment in the area around Heathrow is 1%, in fact, many airport workers commute in on the busiest sections of motorway in Europe.

And what of the M4/M25 junction within 200m of R3?

Hmm... convienient how that is forgotten? It would fall well within any mandated safety zone. Heaven forbid another plane comes in short.

This is a country of great civil engineering masterpieces. Time to build another one, take on Schipol and Charles De Gaulle with a three runway, multi-terminal airport in the Thames Estuary with capacity for two more runways.

1. It will create 10,000s of jobs in an deprived area in construction and operation.

2. With Crossrail & East Coast Mainline, the reach could be huge.

3. The airport could operate 24x7 without disturbing the local population.

Heathrow could still serve as a viable airport operate at a lower level of capacity as Boris Island takes up the slack.

Hi, I live in Egham and I support Heathrow expansion. There's no need to treat the airline industry as a scapegoat (especially with endless tax increase!). What about all the lorries, the inadequate insulation of homes and business building... oh yeah, easier for some protest groups to focus on aircrafts than confront lorry drivers!

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