Heathrow Airport expansion – (Guardian letter)

17.3.2009 (Guardian)

Campaigners who say building a third runway at Heathrow should be scrapped because
demand for air travel fell (Fall in passengers marks end of air travel boom, 16
March) miss the point.

The proposed third runway at Heathrow should be scrapped not because the number
of people flying dropped in 2008, but because demand for UK air travel exploded
from 95.7 million passengers in 1991 to 238.8 million in 2007.

Demand growth of that magnitude, coupled with the Department for Transport’s
admission that “growth in passenger numbers has always resumed once economic growth
has returned”, indicates that unless we say no to expansion and propose an alternative,
as the Conservative party has done, you get piecemeal expansion with a fifth terminal
here, a third runway there and so on. This approach degrades the quality of life
around Heathrow; undermines long-term transport planning; and damages the people’s
faith in government.

Richard Tracey

London Assembly Conservative group