Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Advisers slam high speed over runway

Engineering advisers slammed high speed rail as an alternative to building new runways last week.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure (APPGI) heard from leading civil engineers on the need to expand the UK’s airport capacity. “You need large passenger flows to justify heavy rail,” said Mott MacDonald director for aviation strategy and aviation adviser to the House of Commons All Party Aviation Group Laurie Price.

“If you put down 3km of road or 3km of rail, you can go 3km. If you put down 3km of runway, you can take 37M people to the world. You need a lot of railway to serve what a runway can provide.”

“High speed [rail] is a serious offering that we need to develop in the UK,” said Arup airport leader and ICE Airport Infrastructure Panel member Peter Budd. “However to get a regular and robust service out of airports, they should be operating around 60%. High speed will not reduce our airport operating capacity from 98% to 60%.”

Price urged the MPs present to bring forward construction of a new runway, but APPGI chair and former construction minister Nick Raynsford said it was at present too unacceptable to the voting public.

London mayor Boris Johnson’s proposal for a new airport in the Thames estuary was discussed but roundly dismissed. For the Thames estuary airport to work, it is believed that Heathrow would need to close, leading to mass job losses in the Heathrow area.  

Readers' comments (1)

  • A 300km railway will provide 300km worth of high speed travel for the next 100 years using, if pushed, renewable energy or sources other than oil.
    A new 3 km runway will shortly lie idle as global oil supplies fall at between 3% and 6% per year, every year onward in the aftermath of global peak oil production.

    The airline industry worldwide currently uses 85 million gallons of jet fuel a year! Reduce the supply at 3-6% every year from now on, and with fuel prices soaring the Aviation industry will be struggling to survive.
    It is very likely that alternative fuels - derived from Jatropha beans or algae will only produce enough fuel to sustain 1% of the current aviation industry - and that will probably be the military part.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.