The Anonymous Widower

What Will Boris Do About The Proposed Third Runway At Heathrow?

I have tackled this before in October 2016 in a post called Changing Sides.

This was how I started that post.

There is an interesting article in The Sunday Times today, entitled Boris Retreats In Fight Against Third Runway.

Boris is apparently saying he won’t oppose a third runway at Heathrow, so if anything he’s being consistent in changing horses, just as he did with Michael Gove.

But perhaps more surprisingly, Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of IAG, who own BA, is quoted as calling Heathrow a fantasy project, which has been gold-plated and inflated by the owners to maximise their returns, at the expense of the airlines.

The paper also says that Gatwick will build a new runway anyway.

Remember, it was written before Theresa May’s government decided to allow Heathrow’s Third Runway.

Since the decision to allow Heathrow to build a Third Runway was made nearly three years ago in October 2016, there have been a lot of changes.

Notably, Boris has gone from Foreign Secretary and an MP in a Heathrow Expansion-opposing constituency to Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister he is supposed to look at the bigger picture.

Unless he’s totally stupid he must have noted the following.

Brexit Has Changed From A Simple Quick Exit Into A Slow And Very Tortuous Process

I would expect an opinion poll would show that the UK population thinks that sorting out Brexit is a much more important problem, than the decision on a new runway in the South East of England.

So will Boris put Heathrow’s Third Runway on the back burner, given the following factors

Gatwick Will Build A Second Runway Anyway

In the Wikipedia entry for Gatwick Airport, there is a section entitled Expansion Proposals, where this is the first paragraph.

Gatwick has been included in a number of reviews of airport capacity in southeastern England. Expansion options have included a third terminal and a second runway, although a 40-year agreement not to build a second runway was made in 1979 with West Sussex County Council. Expanded operations would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today, with a new terminal between two wide-spaced runways. This would complement or replace the South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic.

My project management knowledge tells me, that Gatwick could add a second runway and upgrade the terminals in a shorter time, than Heathrow can build a third runway.

But more importantly, Gatwick Airport could build the extra runway and terminal without disruption to airport passengers, aircraft and road traffic on the nearby M23.

Boris’s only problem with Gatwick expansion, is the amount of post he’ll get from Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

Disruption Must Be Avoided

Recent timetabling and construction fiascoes on Thameslink and Northern Rail should have sent a message to politicians, that large infrastructure projects must be created without disrupting train or air passengers and road traffic.

Can Heathrow Be Built Without Disrupting Traffic On The M25?

It is interesting to look back at the basic facts at the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5.

  • A public enquiry into the project lasted 525 days.
  • The terminal sits on a 260 hectare site.
  • Construction started in 2002.
  • The terminal opened in 2008.
  • Construction finisged in 2011.
  • The terminal cost £4.2billion.

The construction of Terminal 5, also needed the M25 to be widened and linked to the terminal.

This Google Map shows Heathrow Terminal 5 and its relationship to Heathrow’s current two runways and the M25.

I remember the construction of Terminal 5 well, if only because, I was stuck in or moving slowly along that section of the M25 so many times.

As this immense construction project, is probably in living memory of much of the population of West London, how will they react to the thought of all the disruption, that building the third runway will cause.

Would Uxbridge, throw Boris out, if he approved the building of a third runway at Heathrow?

Heathrow Is A Pollution Blackspot

Various factors mean, that the surroundings of Heathrow are a pollution blackspot, mainly caused by the large number of diesel vehicles on the M4 and M25 motorways and others bringing passengers and goods to the airport.

I believe that any Planning Permission for the third runway, will require Heathrow to do something about the pollution. This could be easier than anybody thinks, as more of us will be using electric vehicles by the time the runway opens.

Heathrow are already proposing their ULEZ or Ulta Low Emission Zone.

Heathrow Rail Access Will Improve

Crossrail will eventually serve Heathrow in a year or so and this will improve rail access to the Airport significantly.

Other rail links are also in prospect.

The first two would be privately financed.

This better rail access may reduce the traffic and pollution around the airport, but it will make it easier, for passengers to use the airport and traffic will grow.

High Speed Rail

Increasingly, Heathrow and the other London airports, will come under competition from High Speed Rail.

Eurostar has upwards of seventy percent of the London-Paris and London-Brussels passenger markets.

I have travelled a few times from London to Amsterdam on Eurostar and feel that four hours is my limit for comfortable train travel.

I estimate the following journeys would be possible on Eurostar.

  • London and Cologne via Brussels in four hours
  • London and Bordeaux via Paris in four and a half hours.
  • London and Frankfurt in Five hours.

Another competitor to air services out of London will be London and Edinburgh services on the East Coast Main Line, which are being updated with new faster trains and journey times under four hours.

Air Cargo And Heathrow

I looked up air cargo in Wikipedia and these points are there.

  • Fifty-percent of all air frieght is belly-cargo on airlines.
  • An industry expert estimates that 15-20 tonnes of air cargo is worth 30-40 economy passenger seats, when both are on passenger planes.
  • In 2017, the IATA observed a 9% rise in freight tonne kilometres
  •  Boeing is doubling its 767F production since 2016 to three per month in 2020.

Heathrow dominates the air cargo traffic into and out of the UK and last year it handled 1,788,815 tonnes of cargo, which was a 5.3% increase in tonnage on 2017.

However, it does appear that the second largest cargo airport in the UK; East Midlands, handled about the same amount of freight as Heathrow in April 2018.

There is also the East Midlands Gateway close to that airport, which will be a massive logistics park., with a rail connection.

Perhaps the pressures of the congested Heathrow, with some nudging from the Government could remove the cargo aircraft from the airport to more suitable airports like East Midlands and Doncaster Sheffield.

Manchester Airport Is The Most Important Airport North Of London

Manchester Airport is the busiest Airport after Heathrow and Gatwick and over the next few years it will catch up to a certain extent.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this about Manchester Airport’s rail connectivity if High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail are combined across the Pennines.

If High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail are developed as laid out in the Transport for the North report, the following cities will be connected to Manchester Airport.

  • Birmingham – High Speed Two
  • Blackpool – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Bradford – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Carlisle – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Edinburgh – Northern Powerhouse Rail/East Coast Main Line
  • Glasgow – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Hull – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Leeds – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • London – High Speed Two
  • Newcastle -High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Preston – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Sheffield – Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Sunderland –  Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • York – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail

Manchester Airport will probably become the most important station in the North with High Speed connections to a large part of England and Scotland.

Heathrow and Gatwick will find they have a very big and well-connected Northern competitor.

Extinction Rebellion And Other Environmental Protesters

Most of the environmental protesters like Extinction Rebellion seem to have focused their attention on Heathrow, where airports are concerned.

They will fight tooth and nail to stop Heathrow’s third runway.

Will Heathrow Get The Planning Permission They Need?

I think that this is the sort of planning decision, that will end up with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Theresa Villiers.

Her Wikipedia entry says this.

Villiers favours construction of a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and Manchester, arguing that flyers could use capacity at airports such as Birmingham International and Manchester International Airport.

She is also quoted as being against a third runway at Heathrow, when she was a member of Davisd Cameron’s cabinet.

Grant Schapps, who is the current Secretary of State for Transport, could be more supportive to Heathrow’s application.

The Mood Of The UK About The Environment

The view of the average UK voter on the environment has changed markedly in the last few years, driven by documentaries, events and politics from around the world.

Boris’s father; Stanley Johnson has written books on the environment and received the Greenpeace Award for Outstanding Services to the Environment, so this could fit with his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, when he was Mayor of London.

Do Heathrow Airport Have A Plan B?

In Heathrow Plans Runway Over M25 In 30-Year Expansion, I outlined how I thought the runway would be built.

The Times says this about the construction program.

Only the runway would be built by the opening date of early 2026.

Other facilities such as new terminals, car parks, hotels and transit systems would open from 2030, with an expansion of Terminal 5 the priority

This means that the extra runway capacity can be used initially to better accommodate the same number of flights.

Perhaps Plan B would mean changing the order of construction, leaving a space for the third runway and getting Planning Permission to build it in perhaps starting in 2028.

Conclusion

This is a tough one to call and I know what I would do. I would just let it fester until the decision was forced by another factor.

But Boris is the Prime Minister and will have to make a decision!

 

 

 

 

D

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Brexit Stoating About Coming To An End?

As a Control Engineer, I know that all systems  tend to an equilibrium.

As we approach the 29th of March, I see signs of actions, that are nudging us towards a deal, that will be acceptable to enough people.

  • Corbyn and May still have their own internal party problems, but both have moved slightly to a position, that could get a deal through Parliament.
  • The EU was also said to be more accommodating about a change to the backstop, by a Government minister.
  • Honda’s closure of UK manufacturing, seems to have added a dose of reality. Even though, I don’t feel Brexit was the major reason for closure.
  • Hard-liners on both sides seem to have stopped shouting so loud.
  • Companies are taking decisions, that will work in all eventualities.
  • The City is still announcing more mega office and residential towers, as are Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, to name but three cities.

It’s just like an airliner landing after a very bumpy flight from Australia, where somebody forgot to load any alcohol! A lot of panic, but then reality kicks in.

I think we’ll see a deal passed by Parliament in time for a March 29th Brexit, despite the Democratic Unionist Party saying No! They always do, as it’s the only word in their political dictionary, which is the smallest book in the world.

Enough of the Labour Party will vote for it and the Rees-Moggies will reluctantly give their support.

I will be relieved when it’s all over!

 

February 27, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Resignation Of Amber Rudd

In the almost forty-six years from 18th October 1964  to the 11th May 2010, there have been several Governments of both sides and twenty Home Secretaries.

Which means the average tenure is under two and a half years.

Incidentally, how many of the twenty can you name?

So Amber Rudd‘s tenure is just under the average.

The remarkable thing about the list of Home Secretaries is how few last more than four years, so Theresa May‘s tenure of six years, must show a certain something.

In the same period, there have only been twelve Chancellors of the Exchequer.

I have seen it said by respectable commentators, that if a company has a large turnover of CEOs, then there is something fundamentally wrong with the company.

So is there something fundamentally wrong with the Home Office?

It is a large department with a budget of nearly £9billion and around 30,000 employees.

The Home Office web site, these are the department’s responsibilities.

  • working on the problems caused by illegal drug use
  • shaping the alcohol strategy, policy and licensing conditions
  • keeping the United Kingdom safe from the threat of terrorism
  • reducing and preventing crime, and ensuring people feel safe in their homes and communities
  • securing the UK border and controlling immigration
  • considering applications to enter and stay in the UK
  • issuing passports and visas
  • supporting visible, responsible and accountable policing by empowering the public and freeing up the police to fight crime
  • fire prevention and rescue

Would Sainsburys put such diverse responsibilities together?

I’m certain, that some of these responsibilities need to be reorganised.

Perhaps, then Home Secretaries will find it easier to stay in the job.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lots Of Process And No Substance!

The title of this post has just been used by Gus O’Donnell on BBC1 to describe how the Brexit negotiations will progress.

I think that the election has guaranteed we’ll get a Hard Brexit under World Trade Organisation rules.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Dressing To Win!

I am not being sexist in this post, as I think it applies just as much to men as women.

My late wife, C was always immaculately dressed for her appearances as a barrister in Court. I know too, from a lunch I had with a retired judge, who she regularly appeared in front of, that she would dress appropriately for the case and those in Court.

The judge also said, she made sure she was the centre of attention and as the judge said, she dressed to win.

C was considered by her peers to be a very competent lawyer, but several times she expressed doubts about her skills to me, so I do wonder, if she used clothes to give herself confidence.

I think that both Theresa May and Hillary Clinton don’t dress to win and both of them have lost!

How many times in their campaigns were they seen in plain bog-standard clothes, that made them look ordinary?

I can hear the words of C, in my ears, as she criticises their dress sense.

Incidentally, she always made sure, I was well-turned out!

 

June 9, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Is The Next Tory Leader?

When Theresa May resigns, as she surely will, if not today, in the next few days, where is the safe pair of hands to sort out the mess that the Brexit Referendum has dumped the country?

  • Kenneth Clarke and others of his generation are too old and too pro-Remain.
  • Boris Johnson is too volatile.
  • Ruth Davidson is not in Parliament.

I suspect many others will pass on the poisoned chalice.

John Major was the surprise to follow Margaret Thatcher and went on to win an election. Is there another like him? I don’t think so!

June 9, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

I Said It Was A Strange Election!

In A Strange Election, I said it was just that. But then, a political journalist friend said to me, that the posters told a different tale South of London, as they did in the capital, before the Brexit Referendum.

Theresa May made the same mistake as Harold Wilson in 1970 and Ted Heath in 1974, when they both called an early election and ended up covered in egg.

She fought a terrible election and certainly made major mistakes.

  • In a short campaign, you must get your manifesto right and this allowed the sound-bite of Dementia Tax to take hold.
  • The manifesto had little for the average Tory voter.
  • She ignored Newton’s Third Law!
  • Her circle of advisers was too small and close!
  • She ignored the lessons of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
  • She came over as cold, with all the charisma of a dead fish.
  • There was no infrastructure policy except vague statements in the manifesto.
  • There wasn’t much to attract those who voted Brexit, except a stop to immigration.
  • Where was the pit-bull to take Corbyn’s fantasy tax and spend policies apart?
  • Only Boris Johnson delivered any passion!

But most importantly, where do the Tories stand on Brexit?

The Tories are pfaffing about, like a Personnel Manager, who has just been sent by the Chairman to close a factory they know nothing about, in a strange area of the country.

The Tories were all planning to Remain in the EU, even if they were against it and the surprise result in the Brexit Referendum left the Party up the creek without a paddle.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Touch Of The Maggie’s

In her speech outside Number 10, this morning, Theresa May was in fighting mood and was showing her annoyance at the London Bridge attacks.

Her speech almost had a touch of the Maggie’s about it, from the time of when the Falklands were invaded.

Certainly, these murderous imbeciles need some strong handling.

June 4, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Kissing The Innovators Goodbye!

I was part of a team that started a high-tech business n the UK in 1977 at the age of thirty.

James Callaghan was Prime Minister and tax rates were higher than they are today.

In 1984, the business was sold for $128,000,000.

So what advice would I give to my thirty-year-old son, daughter, grandchild, niece or nephew, thinking of starting a high-tech business today?

He or she would in one way be very different to me, in that by the age of thirty.

  • I’d probably only been abroad twice and wasn’t very savvy about how to survive in a foreign country.
  • Now the average thirty-year-old has probably done around a hundred foreign trips.

Due to a broader spectrum of nationalities in the UK today, a group thinking of starting a business would be less white middle-class than we were.

So whereas, we had to start the business in the UK, unless perhaps we wanted to relocate to the US, which I wouldn’t have done, even if I’d known how much money we would realise, so many factors, like the Internet, cheap air travel, better language skills, the easier availability of money, good support services and welcoming governments mean you can start a high-tech business virtually anywhere.

These factors also mean Brexit isn’t a disaster for the high-tech start-up.

If you are a UK-focused start-up perhaps dealing with something that is very UK specific, Brexit will only effect you if the economy goes bust.

If you are selling a world-wide product, the Internet means Brexit is irrelevant or will be in a couple of years.

But who wins the General Election is.

A May victory will probably mean things will carry on as before with a probability upwards of sixty-per-cent, as history teaches us, that in times of unexpected crisis that the UK just keeps calm and carries on.

Consider.

  • Corbyn and his cronies are so Consevative in their thinking.
  • Of all our industries, the NHS is probably our most Conservative.
  • A lot of innovation is disruptive, which destroys existing methods, restrictive practices and industries, but improves employment and quality of life.
  • Good ideas, make their inventors lots of money and they usually desire to keep it.

As an example, what would happen if a revolutionary product came along, that saved the NHS billions of pounds a year, but cut staff by 100,000?

It would never be introduced and if it was, the inventors would be driven out of the country by Corbyn’s proposed high taxation.

So after the disastrous Brexit, a Corbyn victory would probably be equally disastrous for innovation and innovators in the UK.

 

 

June 2, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

You Need Timing!

As the song says, and any good sportsman will tell you, timing is all important!

When we created Artemis, what helped us to be successful was a growth in large projects around the UK and the alternative methods of large mainframe computers, needed more space and a lot more money to do the same job.

We did to the Project Management industry, what Issigonis did to the UK car market with the Mini, Apple did to the music industry and Dyson did for vacuum cleaners, by launching the right product at the right time.

Because of the UK Electoral System, Theresa May was able to start the 2017 General Election campaign at a time convenient to the Conservative Party and its resources.

I think she chose well, when she announced the election on April 18th, as the organisation was already in place for the Local Elections on May 4th. Building a team is surely one of the major costs of fighting an election, so the costs of fighting the General Election can be shared.

This double election will also save costs for other parties, but are their finances in a robust enough state to fight two elections close together? Especially, when they were only planning for one election!

Theresa May’s manifesto could have been planned to be a very easy-to-write document, as she must have been working out policies with her cabinet since she became Prime Minister last Summer, many of which would have been implemented with or without the General Election.

But then she had the luck, that someone by accident or design, leaked the Manifesto, written by the Corbynistas.

This has enabled the Conservatives to wait to disclose their Manifesto last, just releasing the odd morsel here and there.

Policies like housing have been outlined, but they are by no means complete.

The big surprises if there are any, will be disclosed when the manifesto is finally launched!

How many times have your football team lost or won by a late goal?

 

May 16, 2017 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment