Delaying all the decisions

While there were rumours that the decision on expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow was supposed to be made this week, the media are now reporting that that decision has been delayed for up to six months or more, taking it after the London mayor election.

A few years ago, when HS2 was first announced, the politically tricky problem of airport expansion appeared to have been dealt with: high speed rail was supposed to replace domestic air travel. With the appointment of Justine Greening, who made her political career opposing Heathrow expansion, as Secretary of State for Transport the government’s view appeared set.

 Laurel and Hardy visual of McLoughlin and Justine Greening, holding HS2 train with 'another fine mess' captionIndeed in January 2012, Justine Greening announced that HS2 would definitely go ahead, the Department for Transport added in a link between Heathrow and HS2, and between HS2 and HS1, both of which could have helped with modal shift from air. (Modal shift from air to HS2 is now at 1%).

However, earlier this year, the Davies Commission into airport expansion said that the Heathrow spur was not needed and so the government dropped it formally. (The report also said that the HS2 interchange at Old Oak Common would help improve Heathrow access, potentially bolstering the case for Heathrow.) HS2 was even more clearly not a replacement for airport expansion.

Although Patrick McLoughlin has been talking about ‘cracking on’ with HS2 almost since he was appointed, cracking on with difficult announcements does not seem to be his strong point. A delay in airport announcements this week, follows on from last weeks announcement that many of the Phase 2 route decisions would be delayed for another year. The Department for Transport ‘decisions’ in-tray is stacking up like planes circling Heathrow, with difficult decisions still to be made.

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2 comments on “Delaying all the decisions
  1. The government should ask them selves a simple question what would the public spend 60blllion on a train that as little to offer the public as we all ready have the interstruction with a few tweaks we would a rail service 2nd to none and more people would benefit from Then we could secure our borders propley , build proper flood deferences invest in the NHS for the longer people live they will need .We could also put more money into the police to keep us more save .all the public should be on the governments back and get Hs2 stopped and put the money into projects all the public benefit from not just the few

  2. I would like to link this to another listing:

    McLoughlin waters down promise to build HS2 from Yorkshire -Yorkshire Post
    He added: “It is something I’m looking at, we will look at and (HS2 chairman) David Higgins will let me know what can be done. I know it’s a desire from people in the area and I will try and look at whether that desire can be fed.”

    What he can never be allowed to do is water down a good Yorkshire pork pie – as Justine said:
    “Let them eat pork pies! ” AND HE DID.

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