Their heads rose from amongst the manure strewn cabbage patch as the rumbling sounds grew ever louder. The bright shiny tubes ascended to the heavens. Distracted from their picnic on the heath by the disturbance, Islington's middle classes were under threat. Both of these groups have found a common ground. They hate the idea of Heathrow expanding. The former because they believe that their cabbages will wilt. The latter, wealthy enough to travel regardless of cost, are tangled in a web of armchair environmentalism.
What of one of the common claims that it will drastically increase carbon dioxide emissions? Well as things stand, the UK’s total aviation emissions (including non-UK flights, 2006 figures) stands at 6.4%, or 36 million tonnes. To put this into perspective, that’s 0.128% of the total global COs emissions. Even if one runway increases aviation’s carbon dioxide output by 100% it will stand at a quarter of a percent of the total global output. Over the next decades aeroplanes are destined to become quieter (excepting the A380) and cleaner, as airlines respond to demand from users, airlines and people on the ground.