Skip to main content

Planes over London - not a good idea

The near-disastrous crash landing of the Boeing 777 just short of the runway at Heathrow yesterday highlights the danger to the city below that is posed by flights to and from this exceptionally busy airport. What if a plane did crash on London? A terrible disaster, especially if it were densely-populated central London. This is not a far fetched possibility: if I remember rightly, not many years ago a cargo flight from Schiphol airport crashed on to a suburb of Amsterdam. That the victims were mostly impoverished immigrants whose loved ones were not best placed to make a fuss may be why we did not hear a great deal about it afterwards.
We hear plenty from the well-funded PR people in favour of airport expansion, mostly talking about employment and economic benefits, but far less about the arguments against. Such disasters do happen. How do you weigh employment and economic benefits against such a risk - to say nothing of the accumulating weight of the environmental case against air travel?
For my part, my opposition to expansion of capacity at Heathrow has just hardened.

Comments

Tristan said…
I live near Heathrow and am not at all concerned about the expansion.

I'm now used to the noise of planes (anyway, BAA are offering to insulate the house for free - probably saving us energy costs too :) ).

I think the benefits of air travel far outweigh the costs. Accidents are exceedingly rare, although they tend to be more spectacular than the accumulation of deaths from other causes so garner more attention.
The benefits to our standard of living of air travel are massive, as are the benefits to people all around the world, especially to those poor who are allowed to engage in trade (governments far too often prevent it)

The environmental costs- well, lets use the price mechanism to come up with the optimal amount - tax emissions at cost or use a cap and trade regime.
There's no way you or I or anyone can come up with the optimal amount, the only way is to use the discovery mechanisms of the marketplace.

As for the arguments - all I hear is a stream of anti-airport rhetoric from Hounslow Council, including consultation forms written to lead you to anti-expansion positions.

The Schipol crash was in 1992. It was horrific, I agree, but no reason to reduce air travel, but an opportunity to learn what went wrong and how it can be prevented.

Popular posts from this blog

My Remainer's Diary Day 299

For 298 days I have kept my #Remainer's Diary on Facebook. Two nights ago my FB account became inaccessible without explanation. So I'm back on Blogger.
Diary Day 299: the UK's Office of Budget Responsibility published its first Fiscal Risks Report, a 312-page tome, in accordance with a requirement introduced by Parliament in October 2015 that the OBR must produce a fiscal risks report at least once every two years. It is freely downloadable by anyone.  Fiscal is a fancy word for pertaining to government finances. Derivation: 16th century, from Latin fisc─ülis concerning the state treasury, from fiscus public money, the public purse. It is about government income and spending.  The Fiscal Risks Report refers to a wide range of "fiscal pressures", and says that the risks posed by Brexit "do not supplant the possible shocks and likely pressures that we have already discussed, but they could affect the likelihood and impact of many of them."  It states that imp…

ELDR news from Palermo

Here is my report back to Liberal Democrats who directly elected me (thank you!) to the party’s delegation to the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR). The second Council meeting of 2011 (there are two annually) and the annual Congress took place in Palermo, Sicily on 23-25 November at the invitation of the Italia dei Valori (Italy of Principles) Party. There were resolutions and emergency resolutions proposed by member parties, too many to summarise here, of which the most significant was, I think, one from the UK Liberal Democrats on the prospect of war with Iran. The gist is that it expresses concern at military rhetoric, top-level consultations between military and political leaders and the stationing of military assets off the Iranian coast pointing to the possibility of pre-emptive attacks being launched by Israel and the USA against Iran., and it calls for steps to be taken in Europe to dissuade them. When the US military are still engaged in both Iraq and Afgha…

My #Remainer's Diary Day 300: constitutional crisis is coming

My #Remainer's Diary Day 300: I mull over a joint statement from the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland, Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon about the repeal bill. It says: “We have... put forward constructive proposals about how we can deliver an outcome which will protect the interests of all the nations in the UK, safeguard our economies and respect devolution.  “Regrettably, the bill does not do this. Instead, it is a naked power grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution and could destabilise our economies.”  So a constitutional crisis that was latent ever since 23rd June 2016 is due to be thrashed out in Westminster debates.  A spokeswoman for the Maybot said she was not aware of a contingency plan for what might happen if Scotland or Wales refused legislative consent.  That is apart from the rows there will be about the bill's Henry VIII clause powers and putting human rights in doubt.  As the clock ticks, businesses act to protect themselves.  EasyJet announced…