Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Why Boris is wrong about another airport in the Estuary

According to an airport chief executive the UK has enough airports to serve 300 Million people, instead of the 60 Million odd we actually have.  So why do we need yet another airport in the Thames/ Medway estuary? The correct answer is that we don’t.

The Chief Executive of Birmingham airport, Mr Kehoe, says that we have overcapacity in our regional airports. There are 20 airports handling commercial flights in an area stretching from Southampton to Leeds.

The Department for Transport reports that passenger numbers in the UK have now fallen for the third year running after a boom in 2007 which Mr Kehoe attributes to a short lived boom in budget travel. The Department for Transport figures show there were nearly 211 million terminal passengers at UK airports in 2010, a fall of 12% since the peak in 2007

Several airports have closed recently. Plymouth City Airport shut in 2011 and Bristol’s Filton Aerodrome closed last year.

Blackpool’s passenger numbers have fallen by 42 per cent since 2007 and Norwich’s have halved.

So please will someone tell Boris that we don’t need any more airport capacity – we already have too much.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Civic Arboretum – Tonbridge deserves more trees

The good people of Sidmouth have shown the way: they have established the first Civic Arboretum in the country. Now it’s time for others to create their own public tree collections.

Tonbridge is a natural candidate for a Civic Arboretum. We have a multitude of mature trees, we need to celebrate them. A Civic Arboretum would establish a database of interesting trees with photographs and with locations mapped.

Once that is done tree walks can be devised to enjoy our trees. Sidmouth now also has special Tree Walk Days when trees which are not usually accessible to the public on private land can be viewed. I would love Tonbridge to have that too.

For more information:

Will we be flooded by Romanians and Bulgarians? The great immigration debate – again

Kent Tories are worried that we will be overrun by Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants when these two new European Union Members States are given full free movement of people rights in January 2014 – rights already enjoyed by the rest of us, including the UK.

The Tory leader of Kent County Council has commissioned a report on the potential effects of these migrants on Kent: strange, because we already have a report commissioned by the Foreign Office which clearly states that Bulgarian and Romanian migrants are unlikely to head for the UK. They are far more likely to go to Spain and Italy and perhaps Germany. That’s for reasons of language compatibility.

Any migrants who do come to the UK are likely to be young, relatively healthy and looking for work – not benefits. They are unlikely to place many demands on our public services.

Given that this will not happen until January 2014 the timing of this Kent report is surprising – perhaps it has something to do with the threat of the UK Independence Party taking Tory votes at the upcoming Kent County Council elections? 

I think we should be told.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The unintended consequences of meddling with the planet.

Unintended consequences are inevitable. This government has reduced the availability of legal aid. As people are unable to afford lawyers this is likely to lead to an increase in cases with litigants in person (people representing themselves). Judges have already warned that cases involving litigants in person take longer because so much has to be explained in open court. So, having saved money on legal aid the government will be forced to spend more money on the courts system to avoid substantial backlogs.

That’s minor compared to the potential consequences of something as enormous as a geo-engineering project to mitigate the effects of Climate Change.

I always suspected that geo-engineering might have unintended consequences, now there is scientific evidence to show that at least one type of geo-engineering could have dramatic unintended consequences. A scientist from the Met Office has modelled the effects of injecting aerosols into the atmosphere in an attempt to cool down the planet. He has incorporated new evidence from the effects of past volcanic eruptions. The results: introducing aerosols into the Northern hemisphere would probably cause drought in the Sahel region. This could possibly be mitigated by also injecting aerosols into the Southern hemisphere. However a side effect of this would be drought in North Eastern Brazil.

Catch 22 – and a classic example of why it’s not a good idea to meddle with something as complicated as the climate of the Earth.