please empty your brain below

Riding the 81 bus should be interesting when all this work starts.
A friend of mine owns a cafe in Colnbrook, I am going there on Friday (via 81 bus) for lunch, if he lives long enough to see it I am sure he will appreciate the extra trade while and after the airport is expanded.
Oh heck, that's my working day started in tears.
'And that's when the intended impact of the Third Runway really hit home.'

That's an oddly worded last line, 'intended impact' implies that there is some villain with a long term plan to destroy Harmondsworth, and that the third runway is the means to achieve it.

Perhaps the 87 year old now understands a wider truth, that in the bigger scheme of things, none of it really matters that much.
If dg lived nearer to Heathrow and the timescale was not so long maybe he could do a before, during construction and after series on Heathrow's extension as he did for the area which is now the Olympic Park. Perhaps todays photos show that he has already started!
Very quick off the mark there DG. The village green of Harmandsworth is beautiful. At least that bit will survive, but it certainly won't be peaceful.
Am I the only one here then that thinks that a new Thames Estuary airport is a better idea than expanding either Heathrow OR Gatwick? (I would take gatwick over Heathrow).

The main sticking point would be providing suitable transport links between central London and a new airport, obviously. But surely building out onto water like so many other countries around the world has done is not a stupid idea...?

Thames Estuary airport: And how would you propose to deal with the SS Richard Montgomery?

It is a sad thing, but new infrastructure tends to destroy what was there before - for example, without the Midland Railway's cutting through the old churchyard at St Pancras, we would not have the station as it is now.

Was much lost when Heathrow was first build?

dg writes: Yes, and no.
The part of the M25 that's going to be buried is the widest motorway in the UK, at six lanes plus full hard shoulder each way, and has the highest traffic levels of any road in the country. If it goes ahead this will almost certainly be the most disruptive road project in history.

(It's sometimes said that the widest motorway is 17 or 18 lanes total at Worsley in Greater Manchester, but that's a cheat because it requires a very specific cross section through two parallel motorways and four slip roads.)
Does the South East really need a new runway? What about making the most of capacity in airports in other parts of the country? I seem to recall that Manchester Airport's 2nd runway has not seen the level of usage anticipated after it was built and I would have thought there's spare capacity at other regional airports.
This morning Grayling is suggesting the new runway could be built as a flyover atop of the M25!
The houses along the part of the A3 road where I lived once had long front gardens and a grass verge between the old road and their front walls, then they had their gardens cut in half and the grass swept away to widen the A3. Since then all the homes are blighted by dirt and constant noise, we cannot speak outside without shouting. At least at Heathrow there is a gap between the noisy bits.
The new runway will probably run above the M25 on a bridge rather than the motorway being in a tunnel, as it is quicker & cheaper to do it this way.

The fields and villages in described above are probably the nearest ones you can find to the centre of London.
dg writes: Probably not.
Allow/facilitate expansion of airports such as Luton, Birmingham and Manchester (where, at the latter, airlines already fly direct to Hong Kong, Singapore, east/south east USA, Jeddah, others). Why this need for - and obsession with - expanding big-bad foreign-owned Heathrow?
Heathrow should be expanded.
Or even Newcastle is Ok. I kind of fancy flying into Newcastle, take the "tube" from there to Sunderland, and then a Grand Central (?) Train to Kings Cross -- instead of the other way round, which I suspect many already had done.
Heathrow should NOT be expanded.
The Heathrow option is too expensive. It's almost 3 times as much as Gatwick and requires large amounts of public money for transport improvements outside it's boundaries.

Gatwick will be cheaper less disruptive and polluting and much quicker to build.

There are 2 massive reasons why additional capacity should be at Heathrow: 1) that is where business people want to go, not to/from Gatwick, and 2) connectivity with central London - Heathrow has the M4, M25, Tube, Crossrail and an inevitable connection with the GWML to Reading, whereas at Gatwick there is little more than the Brighton line, expansion of which would be a nightmare plus where exactly would one build an equivalent of the M4? It is typical Old Etonian crap that has Boris saying 'Heathrow is in the wrong place', well Boris old cock it's been there for 70 years so get used to it and Zak triggering a by-election (paid for by us taxpayers) to satisfy his monumental ego. He wins, what changes? A LibDem wins, down goes the Tory majority. Goldsmith is a preening fool , who, if half decent, would offer to pay the election costs from his own inherited wealth.

Where I do take issue is with the 125% of value to be offered to the 783 (?) houseowners to be dispossessed. This is far too little given many of them will want to stay nearby, for work purposes, and there will also be housing pressures in the area caused by the influx of construction workers for the project. The figure should be much higher, perhaps as much as 200%.
Heathrow is being expanded so that its owners, and the airlines, can make more profits. Many other solutions exist (including sticking with exactly what we have now), but they are not as profitable.

Of course there will be plenty of legal challenges, protests and so forth along the way. But the certainty of these has been factored into the plans, so the lawyers and security firms will get their share, but it will still go ahead in the end. That's my guess, anyway.

Why this mystique about 'business people'?
They don't make up the majority of travellers at Heathrow, it's leisure travellers.


Great article, I shared it to some non Brits who saw the headline and wondered why the fuss. I see some people got the email to their MP mixed up with the comment box here.

As we're doing that, it's key to have a hub airport. One site. It's key to have major headquarters nearby, most of which are near Heathrow or on the path of Crossrail. I'm heavily pro environment but this plan makes so much sense.
An interesting question is whether there is enough oil to fuel all the flights assumed to be using the airport. If there is, CO2 emissions will exceed the limits for runaway global warming. Sigh.
@Patrickov - fine for people who enjoy travelling, but going via Sunderland won't get you into London for your 9am meeting and let you get home to the USA that evening.

@jackthehattedprat - MAN-HKG has 4 flights a week and MAN-SIN is not direct yet (will be on 1st November). Conversely LHR-SIN and LHR-HKG have 6 or 7 flights per day. Expanding BHX and MAN is fine, but more people want to go to London. Nobody wants to go to Luton.

@Malcolm - airlines can only make a profit if people purchase their flights. Airlines don't need to fly to London at all, but if they do, they want to go to Heathrow.

@Chris - business people make up the majority of airline profits at Heathrow. They want to save time and spend money. Leisure travellers appear to want to spend time and save money, hence they do silly things like booking a 6am flight from Stansted.

@RogerB - Interesting, but if the flights didn't come to the UK, they would go to France or Germany or the Netherlands.

@Berkshire Boy
"where exactly would one build an equivalent of the M4"

The M23?

@Berkshire Boy
"Zak triggering a by-election. He wins, what changes? ."

The same as if anyone else wins - he is standing as an independent, so the Torys' majority is reduced from twelve to ten whether the seat is won by him, or the Lib Dems, or the Monster Raving Loony Party.

timbo: only the theoretical majority. In practice, if Zak wins he will vote with the Tories (on everything except perhaps the airport).
Is there a reason why some of the text in the comments are red? Have I missed something?
John's observation about business and leisure travellers' different money/time preferences is true, but he forgot to mention that the money which leisure travellers save is their own, whereas the money which business travellers spend is someone else's (typically shareholders' or customers').
His photo has already gone from the local Tory office a few doors from my house.
Colour code

Black: comment directly related to the content of today's post.

Brown: perfectly valid comment, but which would have followed if all I'd written today was "I see Heathrow beat Gatwick then."

Even when he had the Tory Whip he voted against the government more than most backbenchers would dare. But perhaps not as often as a Lib Dem would (post-coalition, anyway)

I like the colour code.
I'm going in a day late to the party, but like Sarah, my working day is starting with tears thanks to LOL (Little Old Lady).

Heathrow should NOT be expanded because
(1) it suffers the most lost slots due to low visibility as a result of fog from the confluence of the Thames and Colne Valleys
(2) it's the most expensive of the options
(3) it produces an imbalance of capacity across the region - if all three runways are closed due to some activity (terrorism, accident, fog/extreme weather for example) then capacity must be found elsewhere in the region
(4) Pollution (air, noise, chemical), destruction of communities, disruption to the M25 / M4 & A4 corridor
(5) The main argument was for a HUB airport, not an expansion of London arrival points - so the transport links are neither here nor there
(6) It sits in the most congested knot of roads in the whole country, surely. I used to travel from south Hertfordshire to Apple's HQ at Stockley Park daily. Of my allotted travel time, two thirds was spent in the final mile of the trip around Stockley Park.

oh gosh, even Geofftech has been handed a 'red-card'. Things must be getting bad

dg writes: See the 'Colour code' a few comments up.
@Kirk: Not so much if you found your comment labelled by the blogger himself as deviating from the topic.

dg writes: See the 'Colour code' a few comments up.
@Patrickov I only posted because I wanted to find out if comments about comment colour codes got a new colour :)

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