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CONSERVATIVES CONSERVE NOTHING

By Pete Moore On June 22nd, 2019

If you’ve driven past Stonehenge you’ll have been on the A30, a single carriageway road a few hundred yards from the monument. The importance of the monument is much more than the stones. They sit in possibly the world’s richest neolithic and bronze age landscape. It is certainly the UK’s most precious archeological landscape, Walk away from the stones in any direction and you will come across other henges, neolithic and bronze age monuments, round barrows, long barrows, cursuses (cursii?) and the oldest known human settlement in these islands. It feels a bit personal to me because I spend a lot of time walking the sacred landscape, which is a World Heritage Site. All of it is a World Heritage Site. It is such because for thousands of years it was a sacred landscape and is stuffed full of the evidence.

So of course the corrupt Tories, led by the awful Chris Grayling, want to bung millions of Pounds at builders to obliterate a large part of it. They intend to build a four lane highway in a tunnel where the A30 is. It would be bad enough if they wanted to bore a tunnel through it. But no, they intend to gouge out the landscape and back fill. It is a desecration of a landscape which was sacred for thousands of years and which is priceless. A desecration which will be a complete waste of money even on its own terms. It would be a national shame, disgrace and embarrassment.

For this alone the Tories deserve to lose the next General Election and go out of business. Please spend a couple of minutes seeing how “conservatives” conserve –

41 Responses to “CONSERVATIVES CONSERVE NOTHING”

  1. Well done Pete.

    The Tories are vandals. To this appalling plan you can add the monstrous destruction of HS2, Hinkley nuclear power station and of course Heathrow’s third runway. All of these will cost tens of billions and all will cause environmental destruction on a massive scale. Hinckley (if it actually gets built and actually works) will produce the most expensive electricity on the planet.

  2. Peter –

    I’d add in George Osborne’s subsidies to first-time buyers, which were just a bung to developers.

    I’m convinced now that these useless and ruinously expensive projects are little more than payouts to an industry which traditionally gives the Tories money. Morally it’s no different from those roads and bridges to nowhere, which mafia-controlled contractors were paid to build across Italy.

    I’ve actually yet to hear or read any support for HS2 from anyone not making a living from it.

  3. I’d add in George Osborne’s subsidies to first-time buyers, which were just a bung to developers.

    Yes, and which Hammond has extended to 2021. Of course the price of the houses built is inflated by the value of the subsidy, now who could possibly have predicted that? This is a straight transfer of public funds to boost the profits of Tory-donating construction firms who then splurge it on £100 million bonuses for chief executives and inflated dividends:

    “The chief executive of housebuilder Persimmon has insisted he deserves his £110m bonus because he has “worked very hard” to reinvigorate the housing market. Jeff Fairburn collected the first £50m worth of shares on New Year’s Eve from the record-breaking bonus scheme that has been described as “obscene” and “corporate looting”. He will qualify for another £60m of profits from the scheme this year. Speaking for the first time since the award was confirmed, he repeatedly refused to state whether or not he intends to donate any of the money to charity.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/09/persimmon-profits-chief-bonus-scheme

  4. Here is Simon Jenkins eviscerating the case for a third Heathrow runway:

    “This week Heathrow came up with its latest plan for a third runway. It is a plan so monstrous, so expensive, so disruptive and so archaic as to beggar belief. No city in the developed world would think of increasing flights over its built-up area by 700 planes a day. None would think of jamming its busiest stretch of urban motorway for a decade, consuming 1,000 acres of greenbelt land and building the world’s largest car park (for 50,000 vehicles), all in an area already intolerable with congestion, aircraft noise levels and illegal air pollution – and all at a time of mounting concern over climate change.

    Heathrow’s managers rival Johnson for pledge-busting. They once promised west London residents they would “never” build a second runway, then never a fourth terminal, then never a fifth. They promised quieter planes and no early morning flights. Now there is even talk of a fourth runway…

    Last week reports put the total cost in the region of £30bn. This stretch of runway will cost more than half as much as the entire HS2. It is barking mad. Yet Johnson has reportedly switched to favouring it. Heathrow has persuaded the City, the Confederation of British Industry, civil servants and a salivating construction industry that its expansion is vital for British business. It is not. Around 80% of Britain’s air travel is for leisure and tourism. Though figures are hard to come by, I understand that just 33% of Heathrow passengers are classed as “business”. Business use of Stansted is 20% and Gatwick 17%. Airline travel is overwhelmingly to go on holiday and visit friends and relatives. Stay-at-home tourism could as well argue that a bigger Heathrow is dreadful for business.

    Heathrow has come to embody the hopelessness of British infrastructure planning. Both of Johnson’s (putative) predecessors, David Cameron and Theresa May, were strong opponents of the third runway. In 2009 Cameron pledged to oppose it, “no ifs, no buts”. He even dreamed up HS2 as an alternative, to appease northern business people who prefer taking planes rather than trains to London. Cameron then did a U-turn under pressure from Heathrow’s lobbyists, and so did May. Johnson seems on the brink of delivering the airport a stunning hat-trick of victories over the public interest.

    Every aspect of public policy should now be aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Expanding capacity at Heathrow is like switching Drax power station back to coal. If London really needs more airport space, common sense argues for Gatwick and a fast rail link to under-used Stansted. Both venues have lower-cost plans for growth. Common sense cries out for a progressive downgrading of London’s premier airport, but common sense is a rare commodity among Britain’s infrastructure planners, seemingly as rare as prime ministers keeping their word. Cynics can take one comfort from the prospect of a Johnson broken promise. Not even a broken one can be trusted.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/20/heathrow-third-runway-plan-boris-johnson-block-airport

  5. The western M25 is already congested at all hours. Effectively doubling the size of Heathrow will paralyse much of West London and the western Home Counties.

  6. And pollute West London even further, with noise and fumes. The planes fly over every two minutes even now. If the runway gets built it will be two planes every two minutes, one mile apart. And it will mean a new flightpath over Richmond Park:

    “Richmond Park has been known for its rich wildlife and tranquil landscape for hundreds of years, but the controversial expansion of Heathrow airport will mean hundreds of aircraft flying at low altitude over the royal park, according to consultation documents issued by the airport. Maps of the new flight paths released as part of the consultation process for a third runway reveal the extent of proposed air traffic over the park, with some aircraft flying as low as 300 metres (1,000ft). Current flight paths to Heathrow are not routed directly over the park.

    The Heathrow Airspace and Future Operations consultation, which follows MPs’ approval of the third runway last year, indicates that 47 arrivals an hour and between 17 and 47 departures would fly directly over the park at below 900 metres. Heathrow’s flights are currently capped at 480,000 a year, but it wants to increase this by 25,000 in 2021 and further when the third runway is built.

    Environmental campaigners say the noise and pollution will be disastrous for the sensitive wildlife and the tranquillity of an area visited by more than 5.5 million people a year…”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/28/heathrow-expansion-plan-involves-planes-over-richmond-park

  7. Oh
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/20/heathrow-third-runway-plan-boris-johnson-block-airport

  8. Heathrow does have rail service ( underground and fast train ) Which I have taken every time I’ve traveled to and from there.

    With there be any plans To improve the quality of mass transit to learn from there If the airport is expanded?

    The gold standard might include what Zürich has – intercity rail right from the terminals, With coaches designed to accommodate luggage.

  9. Yes Phantom, that’s the link I posted at 8.43 pm.

    Johnson is now fully signed up to the third runway, despite his many assurances of opposition when he was London Mayor.

  10. Phantom

    Heathrow should not be expanded under any circumstances. It is a blight on the lives of millions who live in West London and its surrounding towns.

    There is adequate capacity to expand Stanstead and Gatwick, but in any case it is hard to see how expanding airport capacity fits with the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

  11. My bad

    I have since seen that there is talk of expanded rail connections to Heathrow, As well as lowering the price of the expensive Heathrow Express train service

    I wouldn’t have the slightest Problem with using Gatwick, Stansted, or any of the other airports there.

    This is all about keeping Heathrow as a dominant hub Airport,

  12. This is all about keeping Heathrow as a dominant hub Airport

    That’s the myth they are promoting. The idea of hub airports is declining as point to point takes over. I can now fly from Belfast to about twenty destinations in Europe. But thirty years ago that would have been less than five and I would have had to fly via Heathrow to the rest of them. So if I fly to Heathrow now it’s to go to London, not to go to Paris. And as Heathrow is my most hated London airport I will always choose London City or Gatwick if I can. I had to use it once last year and it was the usual nightmare.

    #Heathrow sucks

  13. Phantom,
    //This is all about keeping Heathrow as a dominant hub Airport,//

    That’s correct. Heathrow wouldn’t need the extra runway if other airports especially those in the North West of England where given it’s hub traffic.
    But sadly our southern centric government doesn’t do anything to benefit the North.

    Peter.

    //I’ve actually yet to hear or read any support for HS2 from anyone not making a living from it.//

    I support HS2 and I’m not involved with it in any way.

  14. “Though figures are hard to come by, I understand that just 33% of Heathrow passengers are classed as “business””

    Wow. I mean that’s only 26 million flights a year.

  15. I don’t have more recent figures but from 2014 the capacity figures of the major London airports are:

    Heathrow: 98% capacity
    Luton: 80% capacity
    Gatwick: 78% capacity
    London City: 59% capacity
    Stansted: 55% capacity

    Why would you support growth of the capacity of Gatwick and Stansted when they aren’t using their capacity?

  16. “That’s the myth they are promoting. The idea of hub airports is declining as point to point takes over. I can now fly from Belfast to about twenty destinations in Europe.”

    And what about not to Europe? With the exceptions of two direct flights from Belfast to the United States you cannot fly anywhere else in the world without going through a hub airport. Can you fly to the Middle East from Belfast? No. Africa? No. China? No. Australia? No. South America? No.

  17. The hugely successful Dublin airport now has nonstop service to places that were unthinkable a short time ago ( Miami, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Hong Kong )

    It’s hard for Belfast Intl to compete with Dublin Airport , so easy to get to from Belfast or anywhere else – and with immigration pre clearance to the US

    Belfast should benefit from the trend to hop over hubs, But they have a massive competitor.

    https://dub.fltmaps.com/en

  18. There Is no need for nonstop service from Ireland to South America or Australia. Even Dublin doesn’t have that.

    It’s not yet possible for nonstop service from Europe to Sydney or Melbourne But that will come before too long – to Heathrow

  19. Airports in the UK especially in the north of England should get more of the traffic.
    I know things have got better in the last few years but for many of the flights I’ve taken, I’ve had to drive all the way to Heathrow, 200 miles away which shouldn’t be the case.

  20. Manchester Airport is In the middle of massive construction That could wind up being a really good alternative, from a metro area that has critical mass

    It aims to compete more with Heathrow, even with other European hubs

    Hubs will be de emphasized but they’ll always be important. You wont have nonstop flights from Aberdeen to Austin. Very many of us will be making connections .

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-airport-expansion-plan-security-9370929

  21. It’s really good what they doing to Manchester airport, a very handy for anybody living up here in the North.
    And probably buy it but I’d like to see Liverpool airport expanded. It certainly got the space for it as they can they expand out into the Mersey estuary.
    However, thanks to poor government investment in the North in our road a motorway infrastructure, Liverpool airport is not that easy to get to.

  22. *I’m probably biased

  23. When I visited Liverpool recently, I came home on a nonstop flight from Manchester, After a short one hour bus ride, easy as pie

    Manchester is much bigger than Liverpool, It would be tough for Liverpool Airport to compete with Manchester

  24. Dave

    Can you tell us why you support HS2 and what you think the benefits are over the huge costs of it ?

  25. The wonderful Wikipedia tells me that the planned high speed rail could mean that one could get from London Euston to Manchester airport in about an hour.

    That would mean you could get from central London to Manchester airport in about as much time as it would take to get from central London to Heathrow. That could take all the pressure off of Heathrow

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_Interchange

  26. Colm,
    //Dave

    Can you tell us why you support HS2 and what you think the benefits are over the huge costs of it ?//

    Certainly mate.

    it will massively reduce journey times to and from areas to the north of London. Allow people to realistically commute to London from further away than previously possible.
    Trains currently travelling to and from the South are overcrowded, and the system needs expanding.
    All countries that have a high-speed rail network benefit greatly from it.
    It will be good for the environment as it will reduce traffic pollution.
    It will also remove traffic on the roads.
    There are plans to adopt the older, slower rail network, which will no longer be carrying a passenger trains, to carry freight thereby reducing even more load and pollution from the roads.

    I do realise that there are disadvantages to the HS2 network as well. Not to mention the environmental impact of building this new railway line. But in my opinion the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

  27. Phantom,

    //Manchester is much bigger than Liverpool, It would be tough for Liverpool Airport to compete with Manchester//

    To be honest mate I don’t think the two airports would need to compete.
    I think enough air traffic could be directed to these airports so that they could both be busy.
    Your correct though, Manchester is more Central and easier to get to.

  28. “There Is no need for nonstop service from Ireland to South America or Australia. Even Dublin doesn’t have that.”

    Absolutely. But it does highlight the need for a hub airport. As aircraft improve, connectivity improves etc… the need for a regional hub is no longer needed. It used to be if you flew from Belfast to anywhere really you had to go to London first. Now you can go most places in Europe straight from Belfast. Want to go further afield? You have to go via a hub. So the need for regional hubs are gone. The need for a world-wide hubs is still there. And ultimately that is what Heathrow offers.

  29. Thanks for the answer Dave. I admit I have mixed feelings about it largely related to the astronomical and no doubt still to increase costs. It may be wrong but I read that at most it shaves about 20 minutes from London to Birmingham and about 45 minutes to other northern cities like Manchester. Is that really worth the huge expense. Would the money not be better spent on a range of existing improvements or small scale new transport links across the country ?

  30. “That would mean you could get from central London to Manchester airport in about as much time as it would take to get from central London to Heathrow. That could take all the pressure off of Heathrow”

    Though one of the proposals under HS2 is for a hub in Old Oak Common. So it should massively reduce travel times from central London to Heathrow.

  31. I think an awful lot of Belfast travelers make the very short trip to Dublin where they get nonstops to all kinds of places

  32. “Would the money not be better spent on a range of existing improvements or small scale new transport links across the country ?”

    To be fair I think that is part of it. If you improve local transport links between say Manchester and say Bolton, while also improving transport links between Manchester and London, then you are opening up a huge amount of the UK to better transport links.

    Most people would be willing, studies show, to commute for more than two hours a day. So an hour to work, an hour home. So cutting the Birmingham to London travel time from say an hour and a half to an hour brings in a whole host of people willing to commute to London for work.

  33. I know very many people that have one hour plus commute in New York and London right now

    Yes, that’s not much of a burden so long is the trip is civilized and affordable

  34. Colm,
    //It may be wrong but I read that at most it shaves about 20 minutes from London to Birmingham and about 45 minutes to other northern cities like Manchester. Is that really worth the huge expense.//

    There’s a lot of confusion over HS2 and travel times. And a lot of misinformation.
    The initial phase will shave the times you quoted off journeys. and to be fair 45 minutes offer journey from Manchester to London is a huge amount of your commuting there and back in a day. However, this new rail system has been designed to take even faster trains so Jennie x will be reduced even further.

    //Would the money not be better spent on a range of existing improvements or small scale new transport links across the country ?//

    I agree that the whole transport infrastructure especially in the North where I live needs a massive overhaul. But I think that’s a separate issue to HS2. In my opinion I think the UK really needs a high speed rail link north to south.
    As I mentioned before one of the big benefits of this which is rarely mentioned is that the older rail system can then be used almost exclusively for Freight with new roll-on roll-off terminals. this will massively reduce traffic and pollution on the roads. (providing it actually happens of course.)

  35. To be honest how many people would want to take a job where they physically are required to be at their place of work in London while living in and returning to Manchester each evening. I think the numbers of people would be miniscule if only because the cost of a season ticket would be extortionate. Surely such people with those sorts of large work/home distances would be far more willing to take jobs with the advantage through modern technology of home working ?

  36. Colm.

    I agree I think most people would rather not make the commute. But I think you’ll be surprised at the number of people who commute on a daily or almost daily basis Manchester and the surrounding regions to London at the moment.
    But this is the only reason for building HS2. as I mentioned before it’s going to take a great deal of strain of the current rail network as well as the road network.

  37. Why would you support growth of the capacity of Gatwick and Stansted when they aren’t using their capacity?

    There is no need to grow capacity at those airports until they reach 90% utilisation, but an obvious alternative to Heathrow runway three is to switch flights from Heathrow to those two airports and give the people of west London some respite instead of adding significantly to the noise and pollution that they already suffer.

  38. it will massively reduce journey times to and from areas to the north of London. Allow people to realistically commute to London from further away than previously possible.

    That’s exactly what’s wrong with the concept of HS2. There is absolutely no need to widen London’s commuting area any further. Making it easier to travel from Manchester will result in more jobs migrating from Manchester to London, and the same applies even more to Birmingham. HS2 will cost tens of billions more than forecast and will result in economic gains for London at the expense of the northern cities.

    Much better to seriously upgrade the commuter and inter-city lines in the north which are plagued with delays and cancellations, never mind massive overcrowding.

  39. Peter

    I’m not so sure about that. The Cost of office rental In Manchester would be way cheaper than equivalent space in London

    I would think that if anything High speed rail would move some jobs from London to Manchester not the reverse

    When Manchester tries to attract business, they could boast One hour access into London, as well as Having a true international airport right there in Manchester.

    Colm

    I suspect that more people than you think have commutes like that right now.

    And in this world where telecommuting is normal Some could commute from Manchester to London two or three days a week, and work from home the other days

  40. I’m not so sure about that. The Cost of office rental In Manchester would be way cheaper than equivalent space in London

    Yes Phantom, but if you already have a headquarters in London you will be more likely to close the Manchester office as the staff there will be able to commute more easily. This will apply even more to Birmingham.

  41. The Tories have decided to stick with their convicted expenses fiddler in the Brecon by-election:

    “A former MP has been selected to fight for the seat he lost when constituents signed a petition to remove him. A by-election was triggered after more than 10,000 Brecon and Radnorshire constituents signed a petition to remove Tory Chris Davies. The recall petition was held after he admitted two charges of making a false expenses claim.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-48736879