Decision delayed – time to bury R3 for good

The runway decision has been postponed until the autumn, at the earliest. What the country needs are political leaders who have the guts to say NO to a third runway at Heathrow and stick to it.

It’s no surprise that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told Parliament that a decision on airport expansion will be put back until “at least October”. British politics are in turmoil right now and a decision on which area to destroy with another runway is too important to announce at this time.

What politicians should acknowledge though is that the repeated cycle of imminent threat and temporary reprieve is taking its toll on communities around Heathrow. A third runway at Heathrow will never happen (they’ve been trying unsuccessfully for 70 years) so we need political leaders with the guts to say that.

Heathrow lies: It pledged Terminal 5 would not lead to calls for a third runway

Heathrow lies: It pledged Terminal 5 would not lead to calls for a third runway

There are numerous reasons why a third runway, and potentially a fourth, should not be forced upon the densely-populated areas in and around the capital city. That is understood. All the main political parties fielded London Mayor candidates who opposed Heathrow expansion. The elected Mayor, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, knows that Londoners are dying early as a result of the city’s polluted air. The most basic human right is the right to breathe air that won’t shorten your life but that is a right denied to people inhaling the toxic cocktail of chemicals and particulates around them.

At a moment in British history when we can expect big changes, we need an end to the tired old proposals to expand Heathrow. There will never be a good time to destroy thousands of homes and blight vast areas with yet more noise and pollution from another 260,000 flights and associated road traffic increases