The Heathrow decision

Parliament yesterday voted to approve the third runway at Heathrow. This is the third of the three Hs of large scale infrastructure investment that this government has decided on. It is the most commercial of the three. Hinckley may lumber us with 5o years of very expensive power, unless the alternatives suddenly shoot up in cost . HS2 will be a huge loss maker for years to come on any sensible forecast. It is a disproportionately expensive investment for the railway as a whole, and will hit the revenues on competitor lines. Heathrow will be a successful hub airport with many people and airlines wishing to use it.

The issues surrounding Heathrow were not easy. Some felt expansion at Gatwick would be better. Some wanted a distributed system of growth with several airports in the south east expanding to take more flights, on the argument that hubs and interlining are not as important as some claim. Some wanted the lengthened two runway solution at Heathrow, to cut costs. Many of us want some better news on noise. Because the UK has developed an airport so close to a large conurbation it has created more strains between the settle population and their noisy neighbour. Having the airport to the west of London means planes cannot be stacked over the sea, which would reduce noise and risk.

There was general agreement that the UK does need more airport capacity in London and the south east. There is universal agreement that more direct flights to other UK cities would be helpful, reducing the strains on Heathrow with people flying down to London to catch an onward flight to somewhere else. This is mainly a question of getting to critical mass in these other cities to sustain a decent direct service.
I urged the Transport Secretary to intensify efforts to reduce current levels of aircraft noise, reminding him of the agenda of measures I have been working on with the Aviation Minister.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I write as a person with some personal interest in this project. So understandably my views will be biased.

    Heathrow is indeed a major decision that will affect many. Some positively and others not. It was never going to be a popular decision but, a decision had to be made one way or another as the UK could not keep losing out to others nations airports.

    The Heathrow expansion is huge. It is not just a runway. It is a major infrastructure project involving new terminals, rail links, hotels, offices, retail and CHP power station(s).

    Because of the sheer scale of the project, and I do not think most people realise this, and the disruption that is going to be caused around the M4, part of me says that it would have been better to build a new airport near or in the Bristol Channel. But a decision has been made and, all in all and as our kind host points out, it is the better one of the 3 H’s.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Stuck in moderation again whilst others post the same claptrap without censure.

      • Peter
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        You have my sympathy.

        However you do know this is an echo chamber though and your post may not have chimed with what Mr. Redwood was looking for.

        Otherwise – yes Lifelogic can post whatever he wants. The poster who suspected Lifelogic was an alias for one of the host’s chums or a fellow politician may be on to something.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    HS2 and Hinkley C are clearly economic basket cases. Still some good new on basket cases the government have finally binned the Swansea ‘Lagoon’ project. This was clearly economic lunacy as any engineer could have told them very many years ago after a three minute, back on an envelope, calculation. How much money had been wasted on it so far?

    Heathrow is sensible but will take a long time to deliver. My personal preference would be to have one new runways at both Gatwick and Heathrow. With a high speed shuttle/train link. Effectively giving London a 5 runway hub airport. This is what will be needed by the time the Heathrow runway is finally built.

    Gatwick would have been faster to deliver a new runway. Perhaps two more runways at Gatwick with just the rapid HS link to Heathrow might even be better. This would affect fewer local residents and have been rather faster to deliver. But a five runway hub is what is needed.

    But what an appalling system of government we have when these decisions take so long to make and are made largely for totally the wrong reasons with endless expensive court and NIMBY political interference and this endless dithering & delays.

  3. Peter
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I am sorry for the residents in a huge swathe of London who will suffer the additional noise and traffic congestion. Gatwick expansion would have caused less aggravation.

    A larger airport in the North of England might also address the issue too much concentration on the South to the detriment of the North.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Gatwick would have been quicker delivery too but it would need a good fast shuttle link to Heathrow. Not hard to organise that though. A four or five runway hub is far better than a three runway one. Either 3 at Gatwick and 2 at Heathrow or the other way round. But as speed or delivery is important Gatwick first would have made more sense. From a cost/inconvenience to residents point of view the former is probably better and quicker.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Good comment.
        Plus you don’t undermine London’s long-term economic future in the sense of making it a less attractive place to live, work and visit because of noise pollution (some/many people don’t want to work in Frankfurt because they find it boring – better, though, than noisy planes flying over – already a problem in London).
        (Not forgetting patriotic reasons as well – it’s our political / cultural centre).

        • Hope
          Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Another disaster created by May and tries to use to smear Boris and Brexit. She really is a walking disaster for this country, every decision she makes you can guarantee is 180 degrees wrong. Today she criticises Boris and Hunt for criticizing business for continuing project fear.
          However, we read the Treasury behind prompting business to make fearful public claims. All at a time when loony tune May still has single market and customs union on the table to be decided after we voted leave! She wants regulatory alignment, i.e. Stay in single market and has pursuaded the EU the Irish border is a U.K. problem, when international law makes it clear it is for all parties to resolve such issues. So she decided the U.K. should have a punishment extension and an extension to that as a vassal state for 6 percent of business who trade with the EU that effects 12 percent of GDP. The overwhelming majority who do not trade with the EU being forced to comply with its rules and allow 27 other countries to decide the U.K. Trade policy! Is she an EU fanatic or idiot? It appears from Soubry’s letter May wants the softest Brexit and to be aligned with the EU single market and customs union i.e. Not really leaving! Oust May she is humiliating our nation to the world and demanding us to pay more tax for her stupidity and fanaticism. JR it should be robustly stated the U.K. Must not be part of the EU army military pact. Military mit is used for its foreign policy. The U.K. Should not put its citizens lives at risk or in harms way for the EU foreign policy when it has stated the U.K. Cannot be trusted or be part of Galileo etc. Again, who in their right mind would even consider it?

      • L Jones
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        So what about all those billions being spent on making Birmingham a tiny bit closer (time-wise) to London? That is, with HS2. Perhaps scrapping this ‘project’ and making the centre and the north of the country more accessible on trains running on reliable timetables, with available seats and an internet connection, would be money much better spent.

        So, okay – have another runway down south, if you must – but make access to the north more comfortable and reliable, and do away with this ridiculous white elephant HS2.

    • jerry
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      @Peter; “Gatwick expansion would have caused less aggravation.”

      Nonsense, you obviously do not have the first clue about Gatwick, there is simply not the transport ‘inter-conductivity’ to the rest of the country that Heathrow already has, nor would it be easy to add such transport conductivity to Gatwick given its location. Stansted is better but has other issues, the only other option other than Heathrow would be to rebuild the airport at Manston and make use of the current East Kent rail links to St Pancras via HS1 (and eventually Heathrow and/or HS2).

      “A larger airport in the North of England might also address the issue too much concentration on the South to the detriment of the North.”

      I do wish some would stop trying to put the cart before the horse whilst at the same time reinventing the wheel, such arguments are at least 150 years to late, like it or not London and the South East is the economical dominant area for the UK! Funny how so me on the right, whilst extolling many of other post Keynesian economic tendencies want a return to the 1950s styled planning that told companies were they and their employees should invent and live…

      • Peter
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink


        I use Heathrow and Gatwick and Luton all the time.

        So I am not some remote provincial – which you almost certainly are.

        Gatwick rail link will take you into London in no time. Delays are mostly incurred by tourists with no rail tickets. Drivers are mostly on to the M25 very quickly.

        As others have noted, improved rail links would be a better solution than looking for daft so-called ‘hubs’ in the metropolis.

    • Richard
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Two runways at each of Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted makes much more sense, since there are 3 main Global Airline Alliances:
      “In 2015, Star Alliance was the largest with 23% of total scheduled traffic in revenue passenger miles (RPMs)/revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), followed by SkyTeam with 20.4% and Oneworld with 17.8%, leaving 38.8% for others.” (+ capacity left over to also host regional low-cost airlines: RYA, EZJ, WIZZ etc).

      Greg Hands rightly highlights the long travel time needed to get to a single UK Hub – hence the point-to-point model.

      The M25 expands from four to six carriageways each way as it passes Heathrow – and all nearby roads currently jam up twice daily many/most weekdays.
      West London/ home counties (with almost full employment) would prefer less noise & pollution, whereas other UK cities would likely make the opposite choice.

    • Dunedin
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      @Peter – “A larger airport in the North of England might also address the issue too much concentration on the South to the detriment of the North.”

      A large hub in the north (Manchester possibly?) would be very welcome. Holiday costs are increased by hundreds of pounds due to having to add a flight to London and often at least one overnight stay depending on flight times on departure and return.

  4. Adam
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    London & England were better places with green & pleasant spaces. Squashing ever more people into each other’s way turns life into concrete congestion.

    • bigneil
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Adam, haven’t you learnt the mantra yet ? ” concrete good . .green and pleasant spaces bad “. As for actual numbers of people, TM recently agreed to take “more” in. Not a number, just a vague amount, so she can never be accused of failing on immigration targets. All want a life on the taxpayer, for no contribution whatsoever.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Well even when she was given a number (reduced to the tens of thousands) she clearly ignored it completely.

    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Another flight of fancy. I’ll get my coat

    • jerry
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      @Duncan; Indeed, if the NIMBYs, their elected agents and any passing eco-worries have their way. I doubt the first gold plated spade-full of turf will get dug at Heathrow by 2026, never mind the first landing on the new runway.

  6. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Given the monumental incompetence of all governments in managing these large infrastructure projects one assumes that after the massive overspends and overruns that are inevitable this runway will not operate in my lifetime.

    It is an odd idea to expand an airport whose flightpath is directly over the capital city – there isn’t another in the world – the risks are obvious.

    • getahead
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      It is probably engineers who do the managing Roy. I doubt that many politicians have the competence to dig dirt, lay tarmac, build buildings, provide utilities, etc.
      Now when it comes to impeding those who are qualified, governments are better placed.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    A high speed shuttle from Gatwick to Heathrow (just 25 miles) could be as quick as 20 minutes. So not that different from changing terminals and not a significant time given the endless delays at security, check in times and the likes.

    It can easily take 20 minutes just to buy a train ticket at Gatwick anyway such are the current queues. The ticketing system and machines being so complex & inefficient (particularly for overseas visitors). This too needs to be sorted. Tickets should mainly be bought in advance (or while on the train perhaps on your phone). The shuttle could be free (or perhaps included with your flight purchase) like the airport fees.

    • jerry
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      @LL; “A high speed shuttle from Gatwick to Heathrow (just 25 miles)”

      Through some of the most transport congested areas in London, never mind full of high prices homes and BTL properties etc, all of whom will want significant compensation…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Plenty of routes could be take. There are already rail tracks from Gatwick to Victoria or it could go round the side of M25 or even above it. The M25 needs to have more lanes while they are at it too (and the M3, M1, A1M, M4 …. )

        It could go underground in some stretches if needed. Tunnelling for a shuttle train is not so expensive nowadays with modern equipment. Look at what they did with all the canal tunnels and without very much equipment at all beyond a spade and explosives!

        • jerry
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          @LL; The existing routes you cite are already at or above existing capacity, nor is their any land available for your idea of a high speed “Heathwick” rapid transit system, be it road, rail, over ground or underground.

          Building anything above the M25, whilst keeping the motorway open, is problematic – indeed it has been highlighted as one reason the Heathrow expansion should not happen, on the other hand you are suggesting that an extra 30 miles [1] of the M25 should be a rolling construction site for the next five to ten years…

          • NickC
            Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Most motorways in England have already been a “rolling construction site” for the last decade as they have been downgraded to less-than-smart motorways and the central steel barriers have been replaced by concrete. Installing an “El” should cause no more disruption than building the DLR. And land is quite definitely available for an underground rail link, for obvious reasons.

  8. Caterpillar
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Heathrow expansion is another example of continuing London centricity. This government is meant to be delivering Brexit and rebalancing the economy/country. It isn’t.

  9. Nig l
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Disappointedly I have to say ‘so what’? As I understand it for all the bs, it only grants outline planning approval, not the ability to actually start building, so we can now look forward to years maybe decades of legal wrangling, tribunals, protests etc, the Mayor of London has already said he will join such action, all no doubt at a vast cost to the Exchequer for zero return.

    We will all have noted that Boris, who promised to lay his body on the line to stop it, did so by running away, as indeed did Hammond. I don’t want a coward as Prime Minister.

    • rose
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Boris has two constituencies to worry about: Uxbridge and Brexit. The first battle was already lost as far as the H of C was concerned, and the time to lie down under bulldozers is when they arrive, if they ever do. The second battle is not yet quite lost, so that is where he must concentrate his energy.

      He couldn’t have made the case for an airport elsewhere better. He tried to persuade the PM to allow a free vote but she refused, knowing she would win either way. Having been against the project herself, and the Chancellor likewise, she then deliberately embarrassed Boris, to damage him as she always tries to do. People shouldn’t fall for it.

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    At least one sensible decision, scrapping the ludicrously expensive tidal barrier. It’s a pity the HS2 can’t be scrapped.
    Perhaps we can find some money to fund the armed forces properly and cancel the stupid £39 billion illegal divorce payment to Brussels.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Indeed the “lagoon” was always economic lunacy and totally idiotic. I assume it was entertained only to make other greencrap lunacies look like relatively good value!

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic – If infrastructure investment in the UK was left in your hands we would still be rubbing sticks together to produce fire!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        L\L. Its all crap. When are we going to see some progress with fracking. Probably not in our lifetime like Heathrow.

        • jerry
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          @Fedupsoutherner; We will see progress with fracking (again) when and if oil prices return to the levels of mid to late 2014, until then I suspect fracking will be largely uneconomic – nor necessary, bar any geopolitical reasons.

          • NickC
            Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The USA has become a net exporter of oil and natural gas precisely because modern methods of extraction (“fracking”) are economic at current oil prices.

    • L Jones
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      ”….. an island nation which no longer commands the essential means of defending itself by air and sea is no longer sovereign…” So why, for goodness’ sake, are we risking our sovereignty by running down our armed forces?

      We are pledging to hand over money we need for our own security to the execrable EU simply to TALK about trade! How ludicrous! Isn’t this ”bribery”? Or ”Dane geld”? Or appeasement?

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    This very week, the EU Ministers in Council will decide on the future of our country. If there is a hard Brexit, as looks extremely likely now, Heathrow will close completely at midnight on 29-30th March next year.

  12. DaveM
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I know it’s not really your “thing”, but could you please explain exactly what the PM is signing the U.K. up to in terms of European defence? I read papers and websites and work in Army HQ but have no real information on this. It smacks of Brown/Lisbon, Major/ Maastricht, etc. Thanks.

    • rose
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Read Facts4EU. They have all the information but you may have to go back a bit. It is extremely worrying, and our parliament, which made so much fuss about article 50 and its “meaningful vote”, hasn’t squeaked on the subject as far a I am aware.

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Clarification would be useful-I noted yesterday from the announcement of the establishment of the “Joint Military Intervention Force” that it’s members comprise France,Germany,Belgium,Denmark,Netherlands,Estonia,Spain, Portugal and the UK.Italy,under it’s new government has declined to join and none of the East European members are present.

      • The Invaders
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        “Joint Military Intervention Force” Where could it legitimately intervene
        (invade ) ?
        It should be disbanded of course .
        Imagine Russia or China or indeed India forming a “Joint Military Intervention Force”. Oh wait, we’re the goodies aren’t we! How silly!

        • David L
          Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Where could it intervene? Only in an EU member country I’d guess, as it’s populace get fed up with being controlled by distant bureaucrats. Surely they wouldn’t have us in mind?

      • Richard
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Quite. Veterans for Britain, a campaign group backed by former military chiefs, feared the move could be a cover for the UK to be dragged into a future EU defence force.
        Lee Rotherham, executive director of the group, said:
        “We’re told that the EII is not an EU initiative, but that is not correct. Mr Macron said it is ‘one of the six keys of European sovereignty’ which allows the ‘full integration of EU armed forces’. Once again, MPs are being side-lined by civil servants.
        MPs need to understand that the other nations in this project have signed up to a centralised EU framework. This already binds in the European Commission’s authority.”

        • Richard
          Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          quoting the express article quoting Lee Rotherham

  13. Iain Moore
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    We have been wasting time trying to fit an international hub airport in an area where it is ill suited to be. We would have had more rapid and appropriate airport expansion if we could have got over the bad decision to have sited the airport at Heathrow . Its a 50 year old error that we cannot seem to correct, for there are too many vested interests keeping the airport at Heathrow, and too little vision in Westminster.

    • old salt
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      It is said one wouldn’t put Heathrow where it is if starting again so why compound the error with all the added noise and air pollution etc. over London which I suffered for years when working there.

      This once veg patch seemed like a good idea at the time all those decades ago and without the foresight it has become congested now by the very nature of the necessary access and local support infrastructure.

      How long before there is a need for a fourth or more runways as the third will soon become fully utilised if not already in anticipation. Judging by the time the length of time it has taken to get where we are the problem may have been solved. How much oil do we have left?

  14. BOF
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    As it has taken 20 years for Government to decide on Heathrow, perhaps there should be an immediate start made on enlarging and improving Birmingham Airport which is now inadequate for the volume of traffic.

    Better plan for two new runways there. By the time one is built they will be needing another.

  15. Original Richard
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “Some felt expansion at Gatwick would be better.”

    I have never understood why Gatwick would be better as it is an airport to the south of London and hence even further from the Midlands and North England and would mean increasing traffic on the already busy M25/M23.

    At the same time I cannot understand why Luton airport is never considered as it is to the north of London and close to the M1.

    It is also no further from Heathrow than Gatwick in a straight line (26/28 miles) and if a fast train link between Gatwick and Heathrow can be considered to be a via option to create a combined Heathrow/Gatwick hub then I see no reason why such a link cannot be built for a Heathrow/Luton hub.

  16. Fishknife
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    If I know I’m going to be late for lunch I often pocket a snack to keep me going. We know Heathrow won’t be finished on schedule, why not improve Gatwick in the meantime?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Indeed a new runway there would be good for competition, cheaper and far quicker. It is currently very overloaded. Any slight problem causes delays for the rest of the day.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        A dusting of snow, a slight flood, a bit of mist or any technical issues causes endless delays and circling. Not very green or fuel efficient to have planes circling round due to lack runway capacity.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          Plus people missing their connections and appointments.

  17. Andy
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Two terrible decisions in one day.

    Heathrow is in the wrong place. Millions more now exposed to air and noise pollution.

    The Swansea Tidal Lagoon proposal rejected despite being a really positive plan.

    No leadership, no clue, no standards. This government is lousy.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      The only sensible decision this government has made cancelling the tidal lagoon.
      The ultimate nonesense in renewable.
      Power output on a parabolic curve generating peak load at variable times and being ruinously expensive to maintain due erosion of the blades and continual silting up.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Over three times the price of electricity currently being generated is the main problem with Swansea project.
      Evrn other renewable energy producing methods are cheaper.
      Good decision.

    • NickC
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Andy, The tidal lagoon proposal was an incredibly negative plan. That’s why it was rejected.

  18. Shieldsman
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Past Governments and Parliamentarians were incapable of making decisions on a site for a major South East Hub airport. For forty years since Roskill our MP’s have kicked the can down the road.
    Political correctness (environmentalism) and nimbyism are still threatening to overturn last nights decision.

    Our Political System with its never ending Commissions is incapable of making viable decisions. It will be half a Century before a new London Airport could ever be built!!

    If the third runway ever gets built it will soon prove to provide sufficient extra capacity. The two runways to the South West although more expensive is still the better solution, both environmentally and long term.

    Both Gatwick and Stansted both still need an extra runway.

  19. Bob
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Hong Kong had the good sense to accept that Kai Tak was an accident of history and needed to be replaced by a modern coastal airport to avoid having large jets overflying populated areas.

    Heathrow is also an accident of history, but the British govt lack the decisiveness to relocate it to a more suitable place that doesn’t involve large jets overflying populated areas. They’ve just kicked the can down the road yet again. Pathetic.

  20. rose
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Solutions should have been found for Boris Island, a long time ago. It was the only sensible idea.

    Now we are taking out houses, villages, including churches and an historic barn, to build a runway in the wrong place, and dangerously so, while at Filton, the longest runway in the world, we are to have 2,500 houses built.

    Never spend money on the West Country is the golden rule – unless it’s a really useless expensive national project like Hinkley.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I was a daft idea you would have to move huge amount of infrastructure and would be in the wrong place with all the population well to the west of it. Plus all those birds sucked into engines. Anyway if you trust the climate alarmists and greencrap loons it will be under the sea very soon. Unless they build it on stilts. Heathwick or better still Gatrow are far better options.

      • rose
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Its flood defences would have served London as well, thus justifying a lot of the expense.

        It could have had twenty runways eventually.

        A lot of expense to begin with as the 50 year old mistake of Heathrow was jettisoned, but as the years went by it would be seen as the sensible, stylish, economic thing to have done.

        The birds are the problem needing a solution.

        • Bob
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          You’re absolutely right Rose, future generations will look back and weep at the opportunity cost and wasted billions.

          I hope the various legal challenges can put a stop to this short termist nonsense.

    • hefner
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Madrid-Barajas appears to be longer.

  21. ale bro
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    approving one small runway is not planning for the future.

    what happened to the conservative approach of encouraging business by allowing competition?

    the only solution to resolve the sub standard airports that london has to offer is to allow all three of them, i.e. heathrow gatwick & stansted, to build new runways.

    this would encourage faster delivery of the new capacity.

    this decision has just given a private business a public monopoly – absolutely scandalous, the tories look like venezuelans at the moment.

    it’s hard to make berlin airport look like a success story, but somehow this government is managing to achieve exactly that.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Competition is indeed vital. Look at the dire state monopoly NHS with its dire health outcomes, deaths, delays and vast costs.

  22. a-tracy
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Were there no complaints from the councils at Gatwick, did they welcome and encourage the development of that airport? Wouldn’t it have been better there and better for the airline industry to provide a free shuttle (underground or monorail) from Gatwick to the nearest fast mainline tube line transfer point in London? They’re going to have to put extra capacity on the tube network from Heathrow anyway aren’t they?

  23. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    All this talk about expanding Gatwick instead of Heathrow prompts me to think those advocating it live in the south east of England and travelling there instead of Heathrow will not be any hardship and probably beneficial.

    What about the rest of us who don’t wish to travel an extra 30/45 minutes or so. It’s a lot if you’ve already driven for a few hours if in future your flight goes from Gatwick. What will happen to flight destination arrangements? I fly to the US and Europe, I get both from Heathrow, whether long haul or short are switched it will be an inconvenience.

    Either way can we please get on with it. The studies, consultations and votes have been going on since Adam was a lad and every crackpot has had the opportunity to express a view. Far too much time is spent on trouble making and insignificant objections. In the meantime we slip further back into the past, where I think many would prefer to live, and competitor countries laugh at our incompetence and dithering.

    I heard a Labour Minister refer to our being ‘world leaders’ in something or other. It makes me cringe every time I hear a politician use the phrase. It is in their vocabularies far too much. We should stop all the self congratulatory posturing and realise it is action we need urgently in this and many other things. If we admitted we are quickly going down the slippery slope we might make quicker decisions and advance our prospects.

  24. ian
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Never going to happen, that why they voted it through just make out something is happening, they will spend billions on getting ready to build it like HS2, lots of inquiries, court cases, more plans, more environment studies, that what it about finding work for these people who work in offices and people coming out of uni, Hinkley point only got the go-ahead because it will be underwritten by the peoples electric bills and has already started.

    Gov haven’t got a pot to piss in, they can’t even afford 20 billion for the NHS, not only that but rail track I read do not have the skilled staff anymore to electrify train lines, they put one in somewhere and took them 4 times as long and cost 5 times as much, they just haven’t got the staff anymore, Rail track has cancelled all electrify train lines till further notice, France is doing Hinkley point, the UK hasn’t the skilled staff to do it, HS2 a long way off, staff from Europe will have to be brought in to do the work at great cost.
    Office workers only.

    • M.W.Browne
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      The government can still find all the billions required for foreign aid though, and ring-fences it, whilst trying to put extra tax on retirees who have paid into the system for 40+ years.

      • Bob
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Govt encourages us to build pension savings so that they can raid them whenever feel the urge. 55% on pensions over the lifetime allowance, which was 1.8m and is now 1.o3m. You never know what it will be come the next budget.

        How can you plan your retirement when the Tories keep moving the goal posts?

  25. Prigger
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer is quoted as saying in Parliament that he will not honour the vote.

    He does not honour the Brexit vote either. ..or the votes on Brexit in Parliament.

    It is one thing for Mr and Mrs UK Citizen to oppose with all their might, quite rightly, things which Parliament votes on but it is quite another thing when someone of his rank clearly will not be a proper MP.
    Did he abstain from the vote? No.
    Therefore he only believes, it seems, to honour democracy when his side wins and oppose it when it doesn’t.
    Anyone would think he is a communist sailing under a fake democratic Labour Party flag.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      All power to him he is making Labour unelectable. This despite the best efforts of Brexit means sweet FA May and lets tax the economy to death P Hammond.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, have you seen this, JR?

    “… it’s shocking to hear from a City contact that the Treasury itself – including Government advisers* – is actively persuading businesses to go public with their concerns. It’s truly topsy-turvy politics when 11 Downing Street is trying to ramp up criticism of Government policy rather than assuage concerns. All of this has consequences: for economic confidence but also for the strength of the Government in negotiations.”

    How often has it been pointed out here that under Theresa May the government’s propaganda apparatus seems to have implicitly rejected the reversal of the previous official policy, and is still promoting the Remain campaign?

    As part of being the Prime Minister Theresa May is the minister in charge of the civil service; so when, if ever, will she do something about this?

    And why are pro-Brexit Tory MPs tolerating it?

    * No doubt including the evil genius named in my previous comment.

    • Bob
      Posted June 27, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink


      “the Treasury itself (including Government advisers) is actively persuading businesses to go public with their concerns. It’s truly topsy-turvy politics”

      I heard on R4 this morning that John Lewis mgt were blaming their failure to make a profit on Brexit, despite the fact that it hasn’t actually happened. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps a few gongs had been promised to those fat cats that weigh in behind the Treasury Continuity Remain Campaign.

  27. Andy
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Today the car industry says investment has halved because of Brexit.

    Halved. Because of Brexit.

    Are they Remoaners?

    Or are they worried about their businesses and their employees?

    • Lenin for Tsar!
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      It is touching you feel for multi-millionaire employers

      The Left discovering capitialists are human is indeed a late realisation.

      Marx wrote “The bourgeoisie accuse us ( socialist fanatics) of “holding our women in common in communes” Yet it has always been their custom to hold their wives in common.”

      I’ve had left and right ideas in my time. But in both cases I have never found employers prioritise the well-being employees.
      The idea a capitalist does not have the profit motive at the top of his agenda does not seem at all possible and is an insult.

      • Andy
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        I am not ‘the left’. I think Corbyn is lousy.

        The fundamental problem is that during their epic 30 year anti-EU whinge none of the Eurosceptics – not one – bothered to figured out better solutions. None of them. Ever.

        And while it is clear that the EU is very far from perfect it is also clear that all of the solutions the Brexiteers have come up with are worse.

        We basically have frictionless trade with the EU right now. It is seamless. There is no border bureaucracy. There are few delays. The system works well. And yet because of completely dumb red lines that they had not even figured out in June 2016, we throw that away for something that anyone with a brain larger than an amoeba’s could see is worse.

        All of your customs solutions are worse. Your Irish border solutions are worse. Your citizens rights solutions are worse. Your EMA solution will be worse. As will your Open Skies solution – if you ever even figure out you need one.

        The sad truth is that Mr Redwood and co were so transfixed with irrationally hating the EU that they never worked out any ways of doing things better than the EU. There probably are ways – but the Brexiteers haven’t come up with any yet.

        This doesn’t bother me because the worse Brexit is the quicker it will be undone. But it should bother you. If you want Brexit to succeed you have all got to remove your heads out of your backsides and start dealing with reality. Your Brexit is causing huge problems. Fix them.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          The real sadness is how the original idea of the Common Market has changed into the EU.
          I was in favour now I’m not.
          It is currently elitist, increasingly centralised and it stubbornly refuses to reform it’s way of operating.
          You can have frictionless trade without chaotic open borders.

        • NickC
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          Andy, Why do you post such obviously untrue comments? Even you know that there have been many eurosceptics that have put forward alternatives – from Mrs Thatcher (1988 Bruges speech on) to Patrick Minford recently.

          The essence of what you have written is that the UK is uniquely unable to govern itself; a concept so preposterous it is insulting to the British people. If small New Zealand can run itself certainly we can.

          I was never under any illusion that the EU would be anything other than unreasonable. So it is possible that the UK GDP derived from exports to the EU (currently c11%) will continue to reduce, as in the past, but the c89% of our economy not so dependent will be much better off. Above all we will be free of the EU tyranny.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Why should any car company want to invest in the UK, when labour is much cheaper on the continent?
      I agree with you that Brexit is a factor, but not that it is the whole story. However, it’s still a more convenient excuse.

      • Bob
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Min wage, auto enrollment and biz rates not helping.
        I presume that’s by design, to create the slump that Messrs Hammond, Osborne and friends are hoping for in order to prove themselves right.

    • MickN
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear Andy. Just wait until we reduce Corporation Tax to 12% and see where they invest 🙂

      • Andy
        Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        You won’t – and they won’t.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      But Brexit is happening. We voted for it. Investment would collapse if we voted in Labour at the next election – you are saying we should override that vote and not let Labour take power if that happens ?

    • Edward2
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Statistics often tell a funny story.
      Halved….well JLR Nissan and Toyota have recently invested hundreds of millions.
      JLR have a long term plan for over a billion investment spending.
      This huge jump is coming to a natural end as new plants new r and d departments are now in place.
      But in your world everything is because of Brexitits not

    • Know-Dice
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Halved because of uncertainty…

      I guess that’s down to the sitting on the fence May and Remainder Hammond….

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Andy you really do talk rubbish. Our best friend has been a car salesman (and a very good one) for JLR for over 20 years now. The car industry was doing great until the government started to penalise new diesel cars with high taxes. As he says, Brexit has nothing yo do with it. We need a sensible PM and chancellor. Do stop blaming Brexit for everything.

  28. Anonymous
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Scrap HS2. Develop Stansted and a rail link instead.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, again, now there is another artificial media panic about the future of the car industry to try to somehow keep us in the/a customs union and the/a single market with the EU, with for example a BBC presenter this morning saying that she hadn’t realised that eight of ten cars made in this country are exported, so it seems that this is another successful industry which is being endangered by Brexit …

    Well, I’m sure there are a lot of other things she doesn’t know about the UK car industry, some of which facts I summarised in a comment here in February:

    which started:

    “About 85% of the UK domestic market for cars is taken up by imports … ”

    And concluded:

    “Of course the government and civil service has been well aware of this but in the past they have chosen to deliberately distort and misrepresent the facts to support their case for continued EU membership, and even though officially the policy on EU membership has now been reversed they have still not got around to reversing their propaganda.

    I presume this is one reason why the Department for Exiting the European Union rarely attempts to counter the constant flood of anti-Brexit propaganda, and why the Treasury cannot help coming out with such grossly exaggerated doomladen forecasts of the economic consequences of Brexit; the whole ingrained mindset of the civil servants is deeply pro-EU and so inevitably it is a great struggle for them to look at it fairly let alone from the opposite standpoint.”

    • acorn
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Denis, currently circa one million cars are imported and exported through the UK’s largest sea port; Zeebrugge Belgium. 78% of UK trade in goods, uses 45% of Zeebrugge’s multi-factor, global, port services capacity.

      Might be a good idea to put several thousand UK Customs and Migration Officers in Zeebrugge and the other seven “EU Northern Range” Ports; which the UK has become dependent upon as an EU member?

      • Edward2
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Why would you do that?
        Most goods pass through ports of entry using electronic manifest declarations not individual officers checking every box or container.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Sorry, acorn, I don’t see the relevance of that to my comment.

        • acorn
          Posted June 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          You will Denis; you will!

          “Belgian ports batten down the hatches for Brexit trade shock
          In Zeebrugge, which does 45% of its trade with the UK, there is growing concern about the impact of the worst-case scenario – no deal, and the resumption of WTO tariffs.”

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 28, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

            Sorry, acorn, I still don’t see how that is relevant to my comment about the systematic and intentional misrepresentation of the truth about the UK car industry. More relevant would be an explanation of why politicians have no scruples about making speeches in car plants to deliberately misled the public.

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      The same old rubbish from you Brexmoaners.

      You all think you know more than the business leaders.

      You all want to blame the BBC for everything.

      You believe everything the true Prime Minister of the UK, Paul Dacre, says on Europe.

      Your hero Boris disappears instead of voting in a very important matter.

      Maenwhile people like me have to listen to customers in my section of retail say to one of my colleagues ‘ why don’t you go back to your own country’.

      God help all of us in the UK. This is going to go on, and on, for decades and decades to come.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Being racist is something unrelated to the EU and Brexit
        Dreadful people said the phrase you quote decades ago both before we joined the Common Market and whilst we were in the EU.
        There is no correlation.

      • NickC
        Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        B&G, Why do you suppose you have a right to be here?

    • Richard
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but at least we have our hard working Proper Brexiteer MPs who continue to counter with facts – to counter a leaky Whitehall & the BBC etc’s megaphone.
      H/T Denis btw …

  30. Keep off our carrots
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Why airports are not situated on the coast as with nuclear power stations, is something odd.

    Is it because we are afraid of the health hazards caused to fishies, agricultural area foxes, tractor drivers and migrant carrot pickers?

  31. lojolondon
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Most comments are missing the point. Ever met anyone who actually would like to fly into Heathrow and out of Gatwick?
    The point is not your house, that you bought at a discount because it is under a flight path and now you want to improve it simply by complaining. The point is creating an infrastructure that works. That means a HUB. So the chosen hub needs to be a single place, the bigger the better, with as many connections as possible.
    And cut the ridiculous airport tax to competitive levels.

    • Peter
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      To sacrifice a vast chunk of the capital for the sake of a ‘hub’ is simply daft.

      As for flexibility, in September I will be flying out of Gatwick and returning into Luton because the flight times suit. I have also used Southampton for similar reasons, with the bonus that car parking is very close to the terminal.

      ‘Hub’ could be today’s fashion and tomorrow’s white elephant. The existing airports have a vested interest in pushing the idea though.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Lojo. Agree about your point over cheap house prices. We bought our house in the country at a high price for the privilege of living in what we thought would be peace and quiet only to find it devalued by a wind farm. We are certainly not the only ones and no compensation offered either.

  32. ian
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I see that the EU want the UK to soft it’s red lines to get a better deal with them, the whole point of having red lines is to make sure the UK people get a good deal.
    It all points to them trying to stop lorry transport into EU and holding it up for long periods of time, for checks.
    Other then that there is not much they can do about Brexit.

  33. Step on Toe
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Given that the Labour Party, Lib Dems and the SNP believe with a passion that even now and post March 29th 2019, we will see a significant and long-lasting downturn in the economy, why have they not all abstained from a vote on the basis that the present Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports will face flight cancellations, airlines going away, and little call for their services and that a few horsedrawn wagons by rag and bone men would suffice given there were a few dugout canoes for hire at Dover, Hull and Blackpool?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Step on Toe. Great post.

  34. ian
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    If the government would have chosen Gatwick instead of Heathrow airport, they would have to put their hand in their pocket to build and pay for it, with Heathrow they can employ lots of office staff and lawyers for years to come without having to do any real building work, all for a few billion over the years like HS2, When see the people the government pick who will in charge of Heathrow, most of will have gongs.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    JR, why should BMW fear that the UK government will disrupt its supply of components from the continent?

    “BMW warns of halt to UK production if it can’t import components from EU after Brexit”

    Which idiotic, or maybe just malignant, civil servant gave them that false impression, and which civil servant came up with this stupid non-answer to their concern?

    “A spokesperson for the department for business, energy and industrial strategy said it was confident the government would secure a good deal with the EU.”

    It would seem a simple matter for UK customs to formally agree with BMW that trucks which were clearly identifiable as containing only BMW components would be treated exactly as they are now on our side of the Channel, essentially just waved through, and that could be a unilateral measure independent of any deal with the EU.

    A deal with the EU could come into play if the EU refused to allow the trucks back to pick up new loads, but BMW should be talking to the EU about that.

  36. Chris S
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Other large airports are far further away from the cities they serve than Gatwick. Hub airports are also going out of fashion as people want to fly direct from a more local airport. Choosing only LHR just means even more intense operations in overcrowded airspace. The decision should have been one new runway at LHR and two at LGW. That would have put London on par with Paris and Schipol. Instead within ten years we will have to go through the whole process again

  37. margaret
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Chris Grayling;_ More capacity , more planes , more pollution , full again to capacity. Another runway?

  38. julian
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Build a massive 4 runway airport either replacing Stansted or elsewhere in East Anglia with a new rail link and motorway to London and then close Heathrow. Create a new forest in its place. Win win!

  39. pedro
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink


  40. ferdinand
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Aircraft could stack out over the Thames estuary just as they will in due course stack over the Channel for Gatwick.

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Somebody – maybe the Prime Minister? – should tell the Business Secretary Greg Clark that his remit extends beyond the 6% of UK businesses which export to the EU.

    Somehow a relatively small number of large companies which do export to the EU have managed to get themselves accepted as representative of all companies in the UK when clearly that is far from the case, and it is not “anti-business” to tell those companies that they cannot necessarily have everything set up for their convenience.

    I suppose this unconscious identification of the interests of exporting companies with the overall national interest goes back to the days of “export or die”, when governments still believed in maintaining a fixed external exchange rate for sterling?

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    The expanded Heathrow airport will cater for more of three types of journey:
    – Flights with London as the prime destination
    – Flights going on to regional destinations in UK
    – Flights going on to America and other countries west of the Atlantic

    Alternatives for flights to London are Gatwick, City Airport, Luton and Stanstead. Additional runway capacity at Gatwick could be provided at relatively low cost to the taxpayer, and with less social and environmental damage than Heathrow.

    The Chinese want to run direct flights to Edinburgh. There must be many more such examples, so ensuring sufficient capacity at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham (or East Midlands) may require investments.

    What seems likely in the long run is that additional onward trips to America will be the main use of the additional capacity at Heathrow, with trips to London and trips to UK regions using other airports. If that happens, the investment at Heathrow will show a reduced economic return.

  43. Martin
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The government transport policy if difficult for me to understand. We build HS2 to help access and develop the Midlands/North and expand Heathrow to develop and already overcrowded South.

    The UK is too dominated by London and needs re balancing to other parts of the UK

  44. hefner
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Coming late to such topics, but is there any plan to decrease London’s (and LHR’s in particular) infamous levels of Airport Departure Tax and Air Passenger Duty, which together can add between one and two hundred pounds to a long-haul direct BA flight to, say, San Francisco or Hong Kong?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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