Thursday, January 15, 2009

Heathrow third runway gets go-ahead

Which is kind of odd; given that the UK's economy is almost as bad as that of the US, who the hell can afford to fly anyhow?
The transport secretary, Geoff Hoon, gave the go-ahead to a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow airport today as opponents promised a decade of legal protests and direct action.

Hoon brushed off concerns over the environmental impact of the decision to announce that a third runway should be built by 2020, adding an estimated 400 flights a day at the west London site and increasing annual passenger numbers through the airport from 66 million to around 82 million.

"Doing nothing will damage our economy and will have no impact whatsoever on climate change," he told the Commons.

However the government attached three conditions to the announcement, alongside confirmation that a company would be formed to build a high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham via Heathrow. The three conditions were:

• The third runway will operate at half its capacity when it opens in 2020, raising the total number of flights from 480,000 to 600,000, rather than the 702,000 intended

• Aircraft using the new runway will have to meet strict greenhouse gas emissions standards

• Total carbon emissions from UK aviation must fall below 2005 levels by 2050

"This gives us the toughest climate change regime for aviation anywhere in the world," said Hoon.
From the Guardian. The bit about requiring aircraft using the new runway meet "strict greenhouse gas emissions standard" is a bit odd. Will they refuse to allow half-empty aircraft to use the runway? Will they only allow turboprops to use it? Somehow I doubt it.

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