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

Get the fundamentals right

Messrs Price and Oakshott need to be reintroduced to a fundamental law of physics (News, NCE 29 November).

With air resistance proportional to the square of speed, a 1,000kph airliner needs 10 times more energy than a 300kph high-speed train.

So aviation can never be green or sustainable if alternatives exist – or if engineers can build them.

In this context, UK transportation policy should be clear. Build high-speed lines linking to HS1 and the wider European network to replace short-haul city-to-city flights. Build high-quality orbital rail links to Heathrow to eliminate feeder flights to intercontinental routes. Then bin the whole policy of aviation expansion.

"Green" aviation is concentrating on the routes for which it is necessary, while leaving other routes, less damaging modes such as rail. This is the sustainable transportation future to which all engineers should aspire.

Good engineering is all about developing the right long-term solution – and hopefully earning public respect.

No responsible engineer should contemplate doing anything else.

COLIN ELLIFF (M), 20 Hartley Road, Harrogate HG2 9DQ

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.