On airports [and trains] politically should this be EVEL and English only EXCLUSIVE debate on Heathrow/Gatwick third runway or should it be UK level politics and INCLUSIVE debate from all MPs. I throw this into the ring because Scotland needs to develop Prestwick Airport and there are probably other airports around the country that need to be developed as a priority over a third runway at Heathrow or Gatwick which may mean that that runway is no longer necessary. If for example Prestwick was developed then traffic could come the otherway from the North of England and North of Scotland. Other airports around Scotland probably need developed further. London has Stansted, City, Gatwick and Heathrow and the Channel Tunnel as well as Luton airports. Why would anyone going London to Paris not use the Chunnel as there is little point in lugging a suitcase out to a London based airport and lugging it into Paris from Charles De Gaulle when you can go door to door by train. So maybe greater use of all 5 airports is necessary rather than another runway especially if domestic traffic does not need to go through Gatwick or Heathrow at all. For example, I went to a Human Rights Conference in Berlin in 2008. I flew Germanwings (excellent by the way) from Edinburgh to Cologne to Berlin as a return ticket which cost £140. Another person attended the Conference from Edinburgh as well and he flew Easyjet: Edinburgh to Geneva to Berlin for £25 - I don't know if that was return. Under no circumstances did it make sense flying from Scotland to Europe to use Heathrow or Gatwick and that is probably true of most domestic flights to Europe. Up here in the Highlands we now have a Heathrow link, but we also now have a Schipol link via Inverness airport. So it probably does not make much sense to fly through Gatwick or Heathrow other than for an international flight and probably nearer airports such as Manchester or Birmingham or even Glasgow would be a preferred option. Which brings me to Donald Trump and Prestwick Airport. He has rightly pointed out why would he fly into Heathrow when he can fly to Prestwick. This makes the case for this airports strategic development as an international airport for Scotland that would stop the need for traffic to 5 London airports including Gatwick and Heathrow from Scotland or almost. This then makes it significant that a UK airport strategy is necessary looking at domestic and international flights in order to justify - even on environmental grounds - a third runway, when smaller airports need to be developed in preference to or first in time. An airport strategy might mean you don't need a third runway at Gatwick or Heathrow at all, but you still need to develop airports across the whole of the UK. In the Islands the cost of getting from the Island to Aberdeen, Inverness or Edinburgh Glasgow on top of a domestic flight probably needs to be looked at as well as in Cornwall, Devon, Brighton and even Norwich. By developing smaller airports per head of the population you would be taking cars off the road as congestion around Gatwick (a route I know about) is horrendous when going to Brighton from London and return. Maybe a survey of incoming and outgoing passengers from Luton, City, Standsted, Gatwick and Heathrow and the Chunnel needs to be done to find out where people are travelling from or going to in the UK - it might be an eye-opener to show two things (a) the congestion on roads and environmental impact and (b) that airport development needs to occur at smaller nearer the passengers travel destinations to actually take congestion off Gatwick and Heathrow. You need to make the case why would you fly Gatwick or Heathrow or any of the other London serving airports? especially given my Berlin example above. Its not all about the flight path noise and homes. The question is Gatwick or Heathrow a necessary improvement to airport infrastructure or at all?


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