Bureaucrats talking about aviation expansion increasingly use sci-fi language that glosses over the torture and disease real people experience in their everyday lives caused by the noise and air pollution from aeroplanes in London and the South East.
At the recent Kent County Council (KCC) meeting held in Hever Castle at which Kent County Council’s leader Paul Carter formally reversed Kent’s support for Gatwick’s second runway bid, Mr David Elvy -Communications Manager for the Airport Commission showed the assembled big players various line graphs indicating an almost exponential increase in plane flights. The lines surged never ending, ever pointing upward until the end of time, space and everything. They were taken from an original Government paper never submitted for peer review and whose author remains anonymous –economic projections- someone’s predictions of the future of a business extrapolated from current trends to 2050 and beyond. Having had a good laugh from seeing how programs like ‘Tomorrow’s World’ dated so quickly when it came to judging the future of science and technology, I felt nothing but deep shock that such graphs should be taken quite so seriously and presented in such a literal way by the speaker.
What’s more Mr Elvy explicitly framed these unearthly economic increases as an ‘assessment of need’ for aviation and as absolute certainties. This is not at all an objective position to take on whether London and the South East should get another runway or not, but instead a clear example of the poisonous ideology to which the Airports Commission is bound as well as blinded to its own bias. It has no planned outcome but expansion. Yet Mr Elvy kept on saying how balanced and independent the Commission is and perhaps this was to convince himself because he must have had an inkling of the logical incongruity of his position; Sir Howard Davies, he said, would apparently resign immediately if he thought he was not independent. Yet neither Davies nor the Commission he heads can seriously claim to be truly objective while its remit is expansion at all costs. And this despite many possibilities to the contrary, which in the fullness of time could even conceivably lead to airport closure e.g. climate change initiatives, oil prices, and new inventions such as flying cars etc.
Is anyone in power really falling for the graphic absurdities and accompanying infobabble regularly served up by airheaded economists and hub-obsessed patriots intent on the never ending aviation expansion programme for the UK?
Apparently so. For example, please see the letter below from Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA. It takes him four pages of technical detail and abstract blurb to explain that the shift east of the glidepath for arriving planes to Gatwick airport that means planes now head out in a wide arc right over the top of densely populated Tunbridge Wells before looping back west has taken place – yes – but hasn’t technically taken place because it can all be put down to ‘vectoring choices’ by Air Traffic Control (ATC). Yes that’s it: vectoring choices –
It sounds a bit like the kind of phrase that might have been plucked from one of the language lists that Trekkies have developed for people who want to sound like someone talking about engineering problems on the starship Enterprise. What ‘vectoring choices’ boils down to is that Gatwick have asked NATS to fix it so they can fly in a couple more planes per hour, i.e. under the ACDM-55 trial, they now fly over fifty five planes per minute during peak times. Getting two more planes per hour gets them extra profits – it’s pure and simple economic gain for Gatwick Airport and the hedge fund that owns them and pays no Corporation Tax.
Living in the South East often means that in no waking minute (nor in sleep if you live under Gatwick flightpaths) is there clear silence in the skies – everyone hears planes to the point they no longer experience silence and we all breath the toxic remnants of burnt jet fuel. When will there ever be enough planes in the sky for the economists? Can nothing, not even those who supposedly protect the interests of the residents of our great country in the name and spirit of democracy stop a company from the poisoning and despotic rule of our skies in pursuit of its profits?