The airport debate
[Re: Expanding Heathrow is the only real option – and this is how we can do it, Monday]
Neither expanding Heathrow or building a new airport is the sensible option. We should expand Stansted instead. We’d need to provide fast transport links to London Euston and Kings Cross, and to other mainline links like Watford or Milton Keynes. The cost of providing these lines would be minimal compared to the billions we’d have to spend on a new airport or the misery caused by expanding Heathrow. And if the airlines don’t like it, we should just slash airport taxes at our new hub. Again, this would cost a fraction of the alternatives.
The main drawback of a new hub in the Thames Estuary is that it’s just too far away from London. High speed links would be by train only, and it would take two to three hours by car through the London suburbs to get into the centre. And most people who fly by plane still get to the airport by car. Business people would not accept this long trip, especially after a 12 hour exhausting flight. The only way it could feasibly work is if we also build a new motorway into central London. And what’s the chance that would happen? Zero. The airport with the best rail and road links is currently Luton. Perhaps that should be an option?
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