The knee-jerk, short-sighted reaction of Tory backbenchers to dwindling airport capacity was simple: Bung another runway onto the sprawling tarmac at Heathrow.
The airport already pumps out pollution and noise affecting hundreds of thousands of people and a moment’s respite lasts 90 seconds until the next jet swoops from the skies.
It would be hilarious, if the Conservative rabble-rousing on the matter were not so serious.
I then have to sit down for a moment on realising the man leading the charge is the head of the parliamentary climate change committee.
Tory Tim Yeo, a former environment minister, believes the new runway is only way the UK can stay in the economic premier league.
He made his point in the Telegraph last week.
Staggeringly, they attempt to pacify green concerns with a blasé flick of the hand.
Yeo boldly claims:
Indeed, we could cover the whole of Surrey with runways and not increase emissions by a single kilogram…
No problem – clearly, planes are getting cleaner. So, let’s destroy all that good work by counteracting it with even more flights.
Make no mistake: this is a genuine threat to our environment.
On one hand the Tories preach about raising the quality of life for future generations.
And, at the very same time, they toy with ideas which leave those future generations with a catastrophic environmental disaster to clear up.
Thank goodness for the Liberal Democrats in the coalition.
We are the only party seriously contemplating sustainable aviation growth with its impact on our communities.
I believe strongly that we need a rethink about UK aviation.
Replace short-haul flights with train journeys on an improved rail network wherever possible.
And rethink the over-reliance on London as the country’s flight hub.
I welcome an independent commission on aviation. I just hope common sense will prevail.
We have to make sure we’re getting the most out of existing infrastructure in the South East, while ensuring the growth arguments for aviation are balanced against the environmental impacts of flying.
Aviation is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions in the UK and, unlike road transport, there is no alternative fuel.
Nick Clegg could not have been clearer in the past few weeks that the Coalition agreement and Lib Dem commitments on aviation will not be breached.
We reject Boris’ ludicrous Isle of Grain airport plan.
We want a sensible assessment of existing capacity in the South East and at regional airports to meet short to medium-term demand.
And it’s a flat ‘no’ to new runways at Stansted, Gatwick, Luton AND Heathrow. Simple.
* Catherine Bearder is MEP for South East England and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on International Trade in the European Parliament