Joss's blog

Custard, not guacamole

I bet Mandy was wishing it was guacamole, but let’s be clear: it was green custard. Now bookies are taking bets as to what the next dessert will be (3:1 on spotted dick). Brown managed to keep the tone nice and light:

"If anybody doubted the greening of Peter Mandelson and his willingness to take the green agenda on his shoulders we've seen it in practice on our television screens already this morning."

Ho ho ho.

Don’t get us wrong, we can see the funny side. Well, actually we were rolling around in hilarity at the pictures. But there’s a serious point here: Mandy met his best mate Roland Rudd several times in the run up to the Heathrow decision. Rudd happens to be BAA’s top lobbyist. So what deals were struck? What happened on that yacht? And why is an unelected stooge of Big Carbon deciding our future?

Environment chiefs speak out on Heathrow

Brown dismayed

Another week, another couple of eminent critics of the Heathrow expansion plans take their turns to speak up. This time it was Stavros Dimas, EU environment chief, and Lord Smith, the new boss of the Environment Agency and a former Labour Minister speaking up for reason and scientific opinion.

Smith told The Independent that building a third runway would be "a mistake" because of pollution and noise and said he'd keep telling the government that's how it is. Meanwhile Dimas announced that a third runway would "significantly" breach European air pollution guidelines, which will soon become law.

Government admits no solution to aviation emissions


Planes and turbine

Gordon Brown pledged a new "green revolution" last week as he launched the government’s consultation on its new renewable energy strategy. Credit where credit’s due - they do seem to be genuinely considering some bold and innovate ideas for getting renewables off the ground and even electrifying our transport system too. If successful, hitting the UK’s renewables targets alone could lead to massive emission reductions of up to 204 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

But (and there's always a but)…

Buried on page 175 of the government’s new green strategy documents is this significant admission: “It is estimated that UK energy consumption in aviation (including international) will account for around 11% of our final energy demand in 2020. This document does not however suggest any proposals for the sector, as there are not expected to be safe, commercially viable options for renewable energy in aviation by 2020.

Where's Kelly?

Ruth Kelly with closed eyes

Transport minister, Ruth Kelly, is often hob-nobbing with aviation bosses. Just days before the start of the T5 fiasco she was drinking champagne at a special BAA party. The 2,000 residents who will be evicted if a third runway gets the go-ahead, on the other hand, haven't had sight nor sound of her. I wonder why?

Fed up with being fobbed off by the Minister, angry West Londoners have launched a 'Find Ruth Kelly' campaign. Bryan Sobey, 78, a resident of Sipson for more than 45 years told the Sunday Times, "We have asked Ruth Kelly to see us, but she hasn't come here."

Why would she? I mean, she only wants to bulldoze their homes - it's not like she could go and show a bit of empathy. Menanwhile, the Sunday Times's investigation into Heathrow's expansion plans continues with fresh revelations that a 'crash landing zone' for the proposed third runway would overlap with a junction of the M25. Hmm...

House of Commons: Media round-up

Parliament roof 4

Wow. What a few days for Plane Stupid! Here’s a round-up of the some of my highlights of the coverage from the action at Parliament.

A personal favourite for me was the Sun expressing doubts about the third runway. The Sun said, "Beneath the antics on the Commons roof lies a serious issue that matters to millions. Airport noise and pollution blight many lives. Expanding Heathrow may benefit the economy — but at what price to the environment?"

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."

Teenagers are revolting

Black bloc

Who said we were the radicals? A poll in today's Guardian says that one in eight 16-19 year olds supported a ban on flying on holiday.

This might be down to their dreading another family holiday, but it's more likely to be a sign that younger people are really worried about their impact on the climate. Unlike most politicians, teenagers will still be around when the shit hits the fan, and they're unhappy that their parents' pollution is damaging their future.

The same poll revealed that 10% of young people said they'd be up for taking part in 'guerilla activities' carried out by green groups. Get involved...

Warning: avoid the top spin

Top spin

In October, Plane Stupid reported how Tom Kelly - the Blairite spin doctor who had to apologise to David Kelly's family after calling him a Walter Mitty character - had gone to join BAA as their director of corporate affairs.

The Guardian writes today that he commutes to work between Northern Ireland and Heathrow and that he denies BAA might just have taken him on for his ministerial phone book.

"The last thing I would want to be seen to do is play on the contacts I have from government."

I can't believe BAA would hire a spin doctor for his contacts. Surely the only spin they'd want from him would be on the tennis courts?