Irish Examiner View: Decisions based on environmental impact are starting to bite

Heathrow's plans may be an early casualty of the coming war between commercial ambition and emission reduction realities
Irish Examiner View: Decisions based on environmental impact are starting to bite

A plane landing on the southern runway at London Heathrow Airport earlier this year. The airport's expansion plans may be put on hold due to costs Picture: Steve Parsons/PA

One early casualty of the coming war between commercial ambitions and environmental realities appears to be Heathrow’s campaign for a third runway after the airport’s biggest shareholder withdrew funding.

Spanish company Ferrovial, angered by the regulatory authority’s refusal to sanction a 90% increase in landing charges, says it is unenthusiastic about development proposals because of reduced returns for investors.  Heathrow has already announced an increase of 56% in fees which would mean an additional charge of €130 on a family of four travelling to, for example, Orlando. Not enough apparently.

Leading from the front

Meanwhile Prince Charles, who has long espoused green policies, although it is relatively easy to do so from his position, has attacked the fashion industry as one of the world’s most polluting sectors. He wants a “digital ID’’ which will allow shoppers to find out how their clothes have been designed, made, and shipped.

We are in favour of this information; in fact it is surprising that it is not already available. But we don’t see too many celebrities wearing homespun and hemp; or upcycled clothes; or the same outfits on 30 occasions, all of which is being offered to us as advice this weekend.

It is time for more of them to use their influence to lead from the front on this issue.

Perhaps we need to take a leaf from Greta Thunberg’s playbook. She said in her BBC interview yesterday, when asked about the power of protest, that sometimes you need to anger people. There needs to be friction, she said, and people need to get “pissed off”. We must be heading in the right direction then.

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