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  WE NEED MORE PLANES

 

 

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Despite massive support by government ministers and big business for the expansion of our air traffic capacity over the coming years - not least for additional runways at Heathrow and Stansted - I am concerned that publicity given so far to this issue is not winning the hearts and minds of the general public in the face of growing awareness of global climate change and its causes. I am therefore establishing a We need more planes campaign as a counterbalance to the many unhelpful but nevertheless influential campaigns that are arguing for a curtailment of airport expansion (see links below).

The key points in support of the case for more air traffic are outlined below. Whilst I believe there are some very strong and original arguments (including, I think, some which even our ministers have failed to identify), I nevertheless find myself doubting whether the case is as convincing as it should be. Every little helps - so if you can think of some good arguments that I have missed, do please email me with your suggestions as to how the argument could be made more plausible.

There is no time to lose as there is a very real danger that the general public will jump on the green bandwagon of seeking to reduce carbon emissions with the apparently easy - but obviously ludicrous - solution of applying restrictions to air traffic growth. And then where would we be?

You can also help by writing to government ministers, your local MP and business leaders to offer your support.

See my letters to Tony Blair and Richard Branson (sent in 2006) to give you some ideas.

And know  your competition - for example, visit the man in seat 61 to see how travel by train is undermining the need to fly. And don't forget to follow the links below to find out how environmentalists, scientists and ordinary people are undermining our arguments.

The Campaign for Better Transport AirportWatch
Greenpeace Campaign against climate change
No Third Runway Action Group Friends of the Earth

Finally, why not join the Airplot with Greenpeace...

THE CASE FOR MORE PLANES:

CONSTRUCTION DRIVES ECONOMIC GROWTH (AND ELIMINATES WEEDS)

Weeds in Britain can be eliminated without the controversial use of GMO technology simply by concreting over vast tracts of land. New concrete runways therefore warrant our support by virtue of their permanent ‘mulching’ properties alone. At the same time, there is a compelling case for us all to enjoy the benefits of concretisation by personal investment in the shares of companies such as Tarmac, now owned by Anglo-American plc.

WE NEED MORE GREEN BEANS FROM AFRICA

The importance of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is now well accepted. Already there are frequent water shortages in the south of England with draconian hose pipe bans often being imposed. We need to increase our sourcing of those water hungry crops grown in Africa instead. There is huge potential for expansion to other traditionally ‘British’ crops, such as lettuce, cabbage and brussel sprouts, which could also be flown in for our greater convenience.

FLIGHTS ARE NOT CHEAP ENOUGH

Whilst significant improvements have been made in recent years, and many families are enjoying several holidays a year abroad, it is still not viable to go away every weekend. Moreover, it still costs more to fly to Paris than to catch my local bus to Ipswich (though on the plus side the planes to Paris are a lot more frequent).


GLOBAL NOT LOCAL

We must get our transport priorities right - local transport (particularly in rural areas) is an unnecessary luxury (after all, we all know that fox-hunting is the only issue that matters in the countryside today). Existing government policy of reduced investment in buses, trains and boats and reliance on ‘market forces’ should be reinforced with a significant increase in investment in air traffic infrastructure.


WE MUST WIN THE RACE TO BE CO2 WORLD LEADERS

Europe has a lot of catching up to do if we are to take our rightful place as the world’s top CO2 producer - the USA are clear Number One with China coming up fast from behind. Our economy depends on keeping up with the first division world polluters. Expansion of air traffic offers a huge opportunity to do this quickly, efficiently and at low cost.


NOISE POLLUTION MUST BE DROWNED OUT

(The case for this speaks for itself.)


2 HOURS EXTRA SHELF LIFE ON CUT FLOWERS

Our £1500 million retail market for cut flowers needs to be supported. Many of the flowers we buy are grown in India, which as a result has become a very important market for the pesticides and artificial fertilisers produced by British companies at very attractive profit margins. Why spoil our own landscape and undermine the highly effective agricultural set-aside system when flowers can be flown in from all over the world whilst at the same time supporting the British chemical industry? More local airports could lead to an increased shelf-life for flowers of at least 2 hours - a great stride forward when you consider the investment in carbon and chemicals to get these flowers to us for a just a few days’ enjoyment.


EXPLOIT NO FUEL TAX

Whilst clearly we must still invest in the car economy, increases in petrol prices mean it is no longer always practical to travel by car. There is no fuel tax on flights - this is a benefit which cries out for us to ‘let the plane take the strain’ and increase ‘short-hop’ internal air traffic in the UK. We must provide the infra-structure to fuel this growth.


EXPONENTIAL GROWTH IN ASTHMA FUELS GDP

According to research (source: Datamonitor 2003) the asthma/COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) market will increase by 35% to over $18 billion by 2011 with the greatest increase being in the under-fives age-group. To ensure this level of growth is sustained there is clearly a pressing need to support our chemical industry and bolster our GDP by increasing total emissions from aircraft and hence, most likely, further expanding the market for these essential items and bringing unrivalled growth to British pharmaceutical companies.


DISSIPATE TERRORIST THREAT

The more airport locations that are created and expanded, the lower the chance that terrorism will affect an airport near you.


WE MUST BUY MORE

The shopping experience in our airports is second to none and for many people the only reason why they choose to travel. With a growing lobby against out of town shopping developments, airport expansion offers a massive opportunity to keep people buying and to prove that Britain is still a nation of shopkeepers.


AVOID FRUSTRATING ROAD DELAYS

Car ownership in Britain continues to rise. This is leading to national gridlock. The obvious solution is to take to the skies where there are no delays due to road works or contraflows - and, most importantly, no expensive road maintenance.


ENHANCED SUNSET ENJOYMENT

An observable effect of atmospheric pollution is that it gives rise to fantastic sunsets. Pollution through increased aircraft emissions should be increased in order to push our sunset enjoyment to new extremes.


FORCE INDUSTRY TO CHANGE

On a more trivial note, we do need to do something about our oil addiction. Industry clearly will not change of its own free will. We will need to run out of oil before alternatives will be embraced. We should therefore aim to accelerate the process and hasten change by taking positive steps now to increase oil consumption in the most effective way we know - namely, via a significant increase in air traffic.


ENJOY WARMER CLIMATE WHILST OVERCOMING CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTICS

Happily, a similar case can be made for the acceleration of global warming through increased CO2 emissions (again, air traffic is the best way to achieve this). We can enjoy the benefits of a warmer climate here in the UK whilst at the same time basking in the knowledge that we are helping to bring a sense of urgency to world leaders in presenting an irrefutable case for action to combat global climate change.


SECURE AERIAL ESCAPE ROUTES

Finally, and most importantly, Britain is an island. With inevitable sea level rises from global warming, we urgently need a contingency plan to ensure our escape. Our ports may soon be under water so it would clearly be plane stupid not to secure aerial escape routes.

 

 

 

CAN YOU HELP THE CAMPAIGN?

STILL NOT CONVINCED ABOUT THE NEED TO FLY??  
Visit the man in seat 61 to find out how to travel comfortably and affordably by train
to all those places you thought could only be reached by flying...

 

 

 

 

 

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