Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stay indoors and shut the windows

This week the government recommended that a small village to the west of London should be erased and the volume of air traffic at Heathrow should be nearly doubled. Now I am not trying to speak for a thousand residents of Sipson. But I am trying to speak for a million people who live under the flight path.

The Baa-brigade say that planes are getting quieter. True, but a big plane is still bloody loud. And the number of those planes is increasing. And they want to scrap the runway alternation agreement that spares people from being under the landing path for half the day.

But are the current noise guidelines really acceptable? Should we really aim for a city where so many people do not open their windows or relax in the gardens? The standard of air pollution required today is not the same as 50 years ago thanks to the clean air act. It did not freeze the regulation at "this is today's level, don't get worse". It tried to make lives better. Where is the equivalent for noise?

It's obvious, but the electorate needs to evaluate "quality of life" as well as the simple claims of national GDP effects. Sorry, does that sound too green? Then let us build a new hub somewhere else.

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