Environmentalists have hijacked the debate about air travel, now it's time to stand up for the freedom to roam where and how we please
That’s it, I’ve had enough. Environmentalism is no longer a movement: it is an obsession; virtually a religion; arguably (and I’d certainly argue it), it is eco-fascism.
Take the mayoral election. The candidates have signed an agreement opposing a third runway at Heathrow. How on earth is this democracy? Where is the democracy in no choice? I’m not alone in wanting reasonable transport links to other countries in an era of globalisation.
Aviation accounts for 4-9% of carbon emissions. Yes, it’s disproportionately high given the size of the industry. But look at what it gives us: the opportunity to discover cultures, create a more cosmopolitan world. Just as I’d argue for loosening immigration, I would also advocate my own right to travel to all the marvellous countries in this world.
Get rid of cheap flights? Rubbish. This has allowed the common man and woman to go somewhere other than the ex-pat communities in Spain and France. For every stag and hen do that goes to Tallinn or Krakow, there are several men and women within those parties who have discovered a fabulous, beautiful city with a different and interesting people. We should be embracing these opportunities, not trying to deny them to the poorest in our communities.
Then, what about bin collections every other week? Yes, that’s a great idea: stink up our neighbourhoods and encourage foxes and rodents to fester in what little outside space there is at our London homes. That takes us back 50 or more years; is a week off for bin collection as important as hygiene?
Fine, the environment is an important issue, but for many people the economy, foreign affairs and basic social issues such as crime and equality are far more important. And there will be a backlash when this quasi-religion oversteps its boundaries. I only hope those boundaries start with these preposterous views on air travel.
Here’s my air transport manifesto for London:
- A third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow;
- A new South-east London airport to allow greater choice;
- Expansion of London City and Southend Airports;
- The break-up of BAA’s monopolies in the South-east (and Scotland while we’re at it).
I can only imagine just how many people reading this will disagree. But there are enough who share my general viewpoint to prove that environmentalism has become little short of tyrannical.
And if you don’t like my mini-manifesto, imagine what it’s like to be on the other side of this argument in an age where riding a bike or using a wind turbine seem to be more worthy of debate than crime or unemployment.