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The skies are full.

There is no space, and unless we act fast then all the hulking steel fuselages and their enormous turbine powered wings will fall on our heads.

There are women and children onboard FORCHRISSAKE. We have to act very fast, like “25 years discussing it and then proposing a bill which may lead to us building a runway somewhere in the undeveloped South East inside the next 15 years” fast.

It is that drastic. 

I am so relieved we have decided to act so fast, and save these unfortunate explorers. That There London’s Heathrow airport has been operating at “maximum” for several years, and last week saw the Tories endorse the Airports Commission push for a third runway for the sorry third world aerodrome. Chris Grayling, the transport secretary called it “truly momentous”, a milestone in time equal to a cure for cancer, or man’s first steps on the moon. Our children will ask us in our twilight years, “Where were you Dad when that was announced?”

The first positive impact from this news was that Frank “Zac” Goldsmith resigned his Tory seat of leafy Richmond, in a bid to protect house prices for his constituents. As his personal wealth of £300m is likely invested in these serfs properties, he is acting on most their behalf. The Tories (who’s bitter infighting will obviously lead to spurious front-page headlines in The Mail and co – no?) will not put anyone up against him as an Independent candidate allowing the Lib Dems another opportunity to grow as Labour shrink. Labour? Oh yes, with further silence from Corbyn, they have sided with the Tories on this environmental debate, not the Greens. Unelected PM Theresa May has picked up this decision from the elected and darted PM Cameron. There can be little doubt that the post-referendum economic armageddon that we face has been instrumental in this announcement, which clearly pushes us closer to a different end-of-world scenario. Her cabinet peer Boris has unusually reneged on a previous promise to “lie down in front of the bulldozers” if they built the runway. Possibly due to insurance risk to said massive earth-movers. The rolling coverage online and television noisily pushed the dismantling of the Calais ‘Jungle’ and children being homed in shipping containers away from the news. They are not welcome in our expanded country.

Big Business welcomed the announcement. The CBI were first to proclaim it as necessary to “unlock growth across the UK, from Bristol to Belfast”. The Airports Commission also talked of how expanding Heathrow allowed it to become a hub for far flung places such as Liverpool and Inverness, allowing business to now reach these depressed cities. At £18bn cost, it is significantly cheaper than improving our archaic rail network, but surely cost is not the only implication when improving any kind of infrastructure. And how much will that cost increase decades down the line when improved links to Heathrow lead to further growth at the supply airports in The North, and the environmental impact grows again and spreads further? 

That lack of investment in rail has led to changes in our usual leisure travel planning. For many it is now cheaper to fly from London or Manchester to Glasgow via Ryanair than by train. Not necessarily faster (once airport travel and check ins are considered), and usually less comfortable. These journeys have led to us all considerably increasing our carbon footprint yearly, booking return flights to ALFOS for £40 direct from your app with little regard for the environmental damage. Add those emissions into your other dancing jollies. Your flights to Berlin and a knock-back from Sven. Your trip to Amsterdam for techno and tokes. Your long weekend in Beefa, to recharge your spirituality. And of course your family holiday. We all take air travel as a necessity, for which very often it is a luxury and as such should incur a tax in order to protect the environment. Research by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) indicates that an estimated 15% of the UK population takes about 70% of the flights. Such a tariff could lead to many choosing to offset their emissions elsewhere, public transport versus company car, or even their diet. Changing your diet can offset dramatically – going vegan for example gives you enough green points per year to make another 4 hour round trip for hedonism. 

The social impact of this expansion is also huge. Thousands of families will see their homes undergo a costly compulsory purchase order in an enforced relocation never seen in the UK before. A report prepared by the Airports Commission by Queen Mary's University shows that the noise pollution levels in the schools under the flightpaths currently is affecting children’s health and education. 

Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK is committed to reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. This was set up across four budgets, with the most stringent budget due at the time of the proposed runway opening. Is it likely to be achieved with an additional 250k flight per year? The Airports Commission itself projects that the runway will generate an additional 244.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions to Heathrow over 60 years. It seems that in the urgency to sign off investment plans post Brexit, that this along with Hinkley Point show that any environmental concerns are simply not important when generating Britain Open For Business headlines.

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