Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Local politicians welcome Heathrow expansion

This observer heard the Mayor of London speaking on the radio this afternoon, he spoke of the harmful effects to the health of Londoners that would result from Heathrow expansion. You can read similar comment from Sadiq Khan on the Evening Standard website here.  If he is correct then it won't be very good for folk in that part of London at all. 

On top of that hundreds of homes will be raised to make way for the airport extension. The Financial Times states:

"Plans by Heathrow Airport Holdings, the private company that owns the airport, to build the third runway, include invoking compulsory purchase orders on 750 homes and giving another 3,750 households in the area the option of selling their homes to the airport." More here. 

Well we all like to fly don't we and let he without sin cast the first stone but does that level of compulsory uplifting of people sit well with our claim to be a democracy? The Scottish Government supports the Heathrow expansion though. The P&J states on the 11th October:

"The Scottish Government has backed the building of a third runway at Heathrow over an expansion at Gatwick.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said yesterday that increased capacity at the west London hub would be the “best deal for Scotland”. More here. 

It isn't all over yet though. Drew Hendry too welcomes the intent of expansion of Heathrow but makes reference to "dithering"  - a byelection caused by today's resignation of the Tory MP Zac Goldsmith on the Heathrow issue will perhaps cause quite a bit of dithering too depending on the result. 

Drew Hendry states on his website:

"Years of ‘Ditter and delay will continue to frustrate businesses & travellers’

SNP Transport spokesperson Drew Hendry MP has said the decision to increase airport capacity in the South East of England is welcome but that businesses and travellers alike will be frustrated that there is at least a year before there is a decision in parliament to finally go ahead and that will just mean more ‘dither and delay’.

The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that Heathrow is the preferred choice and that a new runway is the best option.

Drew Hendry MP commented:

‘’It is of course welcome that we finally get a decision – but true to form – the UK government’s indecisiveness and muddle which we have witnessed for years on this, continues.

‘’There is still a long way to go before parliament even gets to vote on it – and the Tories are deeply and bitterly divided about it -so for businesses and travellers there will still be frustration.

‘’Whilst expansion at Heathrow can and must benefit Scotland, there will be disproportionate benefit to the South East of England and London. The UK government must ensure that when this does eventually get approval Scotland gets a fair deal from the process. We should see a commitment on route investment, guarantees to Scottish cities and an equitable share of any public spending that might be accrued coming to Scotland.

‘’For the wider benefit they must also make a proper commitment to supporting new airspace plans, bio fuels for aircraft and the use of carbon reduction technology.

‘’The long soap opera over airport capacity seems set to continue – so, as welcome as today’s announcement is – there is no room for yet more dither and delay."

Labour MSP David Stewart also welcomes the Heathrow expansion, he says:

"Highlands & Islands (including Moray) MSP, David Stewart, said “ I welcome the UK Governments decision today, it means that the new runway could be open by 2025. That means we could connect the whole of the UK to global growth, creating up to 190,000 new jobs and £147bn of economic growth across the country – 60% of which is forecast to take place outside of London & the South East. It also confirms that Heathrow expansion would create new slots for Scottish services.”

“UK plc was falling behind other European destinations due to lack of runway capacity. Now we can expect better connectivity to the rest of the world with better options from those flying from or two the Highlands and Islands in particular and better opportunities for business, tourism and the leisure industry”.

Well then, good for Scotland and the UK in general according to popular political thought but to this observer it seems a bit shitty for the people that live in the 783 (?) homes that will have to go. Perhaps Scottish politicians should have spoken up for them? Some of them will perhaps be happy to take the money and go but put yourself in their situation, would you be happy?

More Heathrow links following expansion - a ticket for more Scottish participation in the world wide economic fairground or just another leap further into a spiral of unsustainable madness?


Anonymous said...

Drew Hendry needs to get a grip, the issues around Heathrow/airport expansion in the south are far more complex than anything he has dealt with locally. Is the mess around the delays to the Inverness Link Road, where no houses are being demolished and the land is more or less or greenfield not within his constituency?

disillusioned said...

Why is the SNP supporting the Heathrow expansion, it's wrong on so many levels. Why aren't they pushing for Edinburgh airport or indeed Prestwick the latter they (we) own to be greater hubs and offer more flights right now? Heathrow is pie in the sky, years in the future if it ever happens and despite the Drew'a spinning pound eyeballs there's no guarantee we in Scotland will gain anything financially

No mention of the green aspect of it all on our environment

I'm finding that the SNP are growing into a typical mainstream party ignoring their membership. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they give the go ahead to fracking

Anonymous said...

'You can read similar comment from Sadiq Khan' - is he not the mayor of London?

'Well we all like to fly don't we and let he without sin cast the first stone' - no we don't. I've never stepped on a plane to go on holiday and I'm pleased to say it's over 10 years since I've been on one for work

But I digress. I'm amazed that so many Scottish politicians have come out in favour of the Heathrow expansion. It seems to me that it's the old story of a developer offering to build houses or indeed any project whereby jobs and goodness what are promised but the reality is always far different. I can only think politicians are blind when it comes to Trojan horses

I heard David Mundell on the radio yesterday saying that the Heathrow expansion could mean that the likes of Inverness might be given catering contracts and the food could be flown down, really?

I suspect that the only area of the UK that will really benefit financially with be the SE of England, no surprise there, well unless you're a Scottish politician

D.Ross said...

So Scottish MP's supporting an English plan for England when they "Scots" don't like it when the English MP's tell the Scots what to do?

The fact that most of the public in the area don't want it & that there is a cheaper & more logical & viable option on the table seems to have missed the Scottish MP's also..IDIOTS!!

I give you:-

Extend one of the existing runways to the west & split into two with a 650m safe zone (emergency) section of tarmac between.

Plans fly in heading west & land on the existing far eastern part of the runway & finish landing & turn off at the join between the two runways. Planes take off from the join between the two runways on the new part & head off west down the new section.

Nice solution.

Anonymous said...


You seem to be a little confused.

Some Scottish politicians have indeed voiced their support for the decision made by our current Tory government to expand Heathrow airport. Crucially they're not voting on English matters just giving their opinion

I would suggest that the majority of residents local to both Heathrow and Gatwick are opposed to any expansion of either airport

The Heathrow Hub that you mention would only meet short term capacity requirements and would quickly see the whole issue being back on the table before too long

In terms of pollution, disruption to people's homes and noise Gatwick is the clear favourite for expansion as it's more rural, however Heathrow is clearly the chosen 'hub' airport at the moment so is seen as a better bet for business

Personally I don't support the expansion of either airport. I can see that the matter is complex, this is the reason it's taken so many years for any government to give support to any expansion scheme and despite the recent government announcement we're a very long way from work getting underway

Clearly you feel strongly about the matter but in this instance I don't think our Scottish politicians deserve the tag 'idiots' for supporting the Heathrow expansion rather the Hub or indeed Gatwick

D.Ross said...

@Anon 11.58am

According to the Heathrow hub info the "extension" would still cope with the same level of aircraft as a separate third runway, & having looked at the info & from what I know about airport design I have no reason to doubt their figures/facts.

Also Gatwick is not that "Rural" it is bounded on the north by Horley & the south by Crawley, & the east by the M23.

Yes there "may" be more room to expand, but you have an equal number of problems, not least the current bad service etc from Southern Trains (part of the same Govia group who own Gatwick express) who operate the trains on the Gatwick line.

Yes I do feel strongly about it as I was born & lived in that region & therefore have a much better knowledge of the "problem" compared to many of the Scottish politicians, therefore I feel justified in calling them IDIOTS!!

Mind you on another thread on this site loads of posters calling the SNP lot Idiots because they (Holyrood) are taking the extra council tax money that Highland Council will rise next year & spend it in other more "needy" areas, & therefore HC still go short, & still run a huge deficit. There was me hoping that that money would pay for HC to repair our potholed roads, & support our services in crisis!

Highlanders-vs-Lowlanders all over again methinks!

D.Ross said...

To Anon @ 11:58am

please read this:-

This goes into detail about who & why etc about the extension plans for Heathrow.

QUOTE:- "to address the need for additional capacity at the UK hub, former British Airways pilot (and ex-director of flight operations) Jock Lowe developed an 'inline runway' concept, which envisages a lengthened and split northern runway - in effect, two runways laid end-to-end, instead of the parallel or intersecting configuration commonly found at airports."

I think that man has more knowledge about landing a plane, operations etc than you, me & the Scottish MP's.

Anonymous said...


I've no idea as to what experience Jock Lowe has and I have no desire to start a p***ing competition and I respect your area of expertise in airport design

My main concern re inline runways would be that of safety. If they were such a good idea why haven't they been adopted by other airports that have capacity problems?

In fact can you name any airports that have adopted Jock's shared runway idea?

D.Ross said...

To Anon @ 5:54PM

Just a quick google brings up many patents & other versions of the idea in various countries, so he is not the first to invent, just the first to properly envisage for Heathrow.

As for safety, in that link I provided it does go into the details.

Quotes as you haven't read the link:-

International standards govern the construction of parallel runways and the distances between them, but no such rules are in place for inline designs. "A big part of the analysis was to effectively develop the necessary procedures and test them from a safety perspective," McFarlane noted. "We concluded that the adoption of these rules by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) would take a few years. It would be helpful but not a barrier to implementation." As with all air traffic control developments, Helios analysed possible failure modes for the new layout and investigation of the ways to mitigate any new risks.

A key part of the study was the impact of overruns - the Heathrow Hub design mitigates these with a safety zone in the middle. It has two areas of 300 m, comprising a 240 m runway end safety area (RESA) - the maximum size recommended by ICAO - and a 60 m runway strip, plus a single 50 m area for instrument landing system (ILS) antennas. The total distance between the inline runways is therefore 650 m.

"We found no incidents of aircraft overrunning by this distance, which is anyway much longer than current maximum safety standards," said McFarlane. "We considered using an EMAS [engineered materials arrestor system] in the safety area, but the statistics show that it would not be required. So we did not include it in the core concept, but it could be added if local requirements mean that it is necessary or beneficial."

Considering at many main airports around the world there are houses & main motorways which are closer than the quoted distances in the buffer zones I think they have allowed enough room.

Maybe the reason it hasn't been widely adopted is because the designers have stuck with the "we've always done it that way" excuse! Also modern aircraft have way shorter take off & landing requirements compared to 30yrs ago, same with cars the old stopping distances you had to know for the tests are easily beaten by a modern basic spec car!

Anonymous said...


I see, so the answer to my question (that you seem to have avoided) is there are no airports operational at the moment with in line runways and this is various shapes and forms is just theory at the moment

Thanks for highlighting (quotes) text that you think I might not have read, most kind :-)

I'll assign myself the idiot tag

Anonymous said...

There's cross party support from many MP's for the Heathrow expansion

As for inline runways, you'd have to be mad to want them. A landing plane can't stop for whatever reason so runs into another plane about to take off. I hope that plan never gets off the ground

D.Ross said...

To Anon @ 6:59am

A huge 650m long gap between both runways, so the landing plane has a full length conventional runway in which to land, then you have the 650m gap until the start of the next runway.

The gap between the runways is well over DOUBLE (actual 2.71x) the length of the safety zone that you get at the end of a conventional runway!!! Then you usually end up in main roads/sea etc looking at most airports.

Anyway if a plane comes in calling for emergency landing "Hot" the controllers will clear all planes onto taxi ways & "Stack" all other incoming flights as this is what currently happens. Once plane has landed, then the other runway can be used (so now a two runway) & the "hot" part of the runway will only get go ahead once the plane is cleared & FOD check done. Much the same as a conventionl set up really.

Just because is isn't the "conventional" "we've allways done it this way" doesn't mean to say it's wrong.

D.Ross said...

Also from the Boeing 747-400 & freightliner landing & take-off calculations charts a 747-400 Freightliner at 85% max capacity with 30% max full & max flap (30) on a wet runway at 210m altitude (ASL) requires 2700m to land.

The total length of the new split runway is 6650m including the 650m buffer zone in the middle! so basically 3000m each runway.

TBH I think that the lighter aircraft (conventional 747-400) & the Dreamliners etc will fly from the new split runway & the really heavy stuff (A380/ freight) will fly from main single runway.

Anonymous said...

Well we can all lay restful now that the SNP have given their blessings, perhaps now they would like to give their blessing to an expansion of Inverness airport to!