Neil meets the MP for Lincoln and films a flypast
Day 10, 12th April, turned out to be a memorable day, worthy of several entries on the website.
Neil was particularly delighted to meet Karl McCartney, Conservative MP for Lincoln. Karl is a member of the Transport Committee in Parliament and understands the arguments against a third runway. (It was great to see his Tweets supporting Neil's walk.)
During their meeting they talked about electric cars, which Heathrow puts forward as a solution to high pollution readings around the airport. Electric cars were also put forward as a way to tackle air quality when a third runway was proposed last time (2002-2010) and was due to be operational in 2015. We were promised clean air with three runways even though it has never been achieved with two.
The reality is that electric cars have yet to be practical for most drivers. Batteries are still a key problem. While batteries will improve with time and come down in price, they are currently so expensive to replace in a car (as much as £8000) that the second-hand value of an electric car is poor. Add to this the restrictions of limited range and charging facilities and you realise that consumers will need a big incentive to buy into electric cars.
Heathrow's air quality promises revolve around on-airport use of electric vehicles, over which it has some control. The company can't do much about off-airport vehicles, apart from imposing a charging system for petrol and diesel vehicles.
People also forget that electric power has to be generated somewhere to charge these cars. Karl McCartney MP is concerned that the power stations in the north are expect to facilitate this growth in the use of electric vehicles.
Later on Neil got a shock when the relative quiet of the countryside was shattered by the sound of fighter aircraft. Even for someone used to aircraft noise, Neil was taken aback by the sudden arrival of the jets overhead and the feeling of the ground shaking.
He was kicking himself that he hadn't had his tablet handy to take a photo but then realised that the jets were turning and could be heading back his way. For someone not used to using the tablet for action shots, Neil did brilliantly to catch the fast-moving display team as it trailed smoke on a training flight from RAF Scampton, where the team is based. That's a progress report that definitely has the WOW factor.