Golden task

PUBLISHED: 14:23 22 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:12 31 May 2010

IT IS misguided and unhelpful for anyone to treat flying as immoral, unless they apply a similar stricture to all other forms of resource use and environmental impact. There is no chance that sufficient people will be of like mind to cause the cancellati

IT IS misguided and unhelpful for anyone to treat flying as immoral, unless they apply a similar stricture to all other forms of resource use and environmental impact.

There is no chance that sufficient people will be of like mind to cause the cancellation of a single flight. It would be similarly ridiculous for someone to blame low-cost carriers and insist on paying a higher fare.

The decision is understandable only in the context of a political system that is incapable of responding to public concerns or to provide leadership on those 'difficult issues' that politicians are so keen to talk about but not confront.

It is also politically pointless to criticise people for choosing to spend their money on air travel and to seek a low-cost option. Air travel is sold on price in the same way as most other products and services.

It is a central purpose of government to mitigate the effects of myriad individual decisions and to deal with problems of externalities, such as the impact of flying, on the economy and on the environment.

The question of expansion of Stansted Airport presents the UK with a golden opportunity to signal a serious intention to do something about escalating climate-changing emissions, by endorsing the decision of Uttlesford District Council in rejecting BAA's planning applications and to not allow BAA to be exempted from the planning process.

Christopher Swain

Vernons Close

Henham

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