BAA-d taste

Plane over roof

Some might consider it bad taste to use the near-death of a lot of people to push the third runway agenda. But I haven't been able to switch on the radio today without hearing some aviation industry shill or other trying to use the accident at Heathrow yesterday to justify expansion.

This is pretty ironic given that the accident didn't directly have anything to do with congestion. Jeff Jupp of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: "It certainly looks like a power failure on the approach."

However, congestion certainly is a real issue at the airport. It could of course be resolved if they scrapped the 100,000 flights a year from Heathrow which are to destinations easily reachable by train instead. These are of course the very flights that the proposed third 'short' runway is designed to carry.

But in the meantime, the chance of accidents like this is ever increasing. Local campaigners have warned for ten years that the relentless growth in flight numbers was turning safety into a genuine issue - alongside pollution and noise. In fact it was a point of objection during the T5 inquiry.

But as everyone following this runway debacle knows, rational argument has nothing to do with anything.