Let the train take the strain

PUBLISHED: 12:55 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

Protestors outside Luton Airport HQ

Protestors outside Luton Airport HQ

LAST week a reader accused me of renting my ideas from a tabloid. So if the gentleman concerned happened to read the same broadsheet as me last weekend I ll be awaiting his next letter as I m about to discuss a subject given a lot of column inches in one

LAST week a reader accused me of renting my ideas from a tabloid. So if the gentleman concerned happened to read the same broadsheet as me last weekend I'll be awaiting his next letter as I'm about to discuss a subject given a lot of column inches in one particular Sunday supplement.

In my defence, I had already intended to cover the issue of air travel, as it is a particularly important one in this area at the moment because of the threat of expansion to Luton Airport.

So I'd like to believe my ideas on this matter are more of a freehold arrangement, but I can see opinion could differ.

Anyway. The proposed expansion at Luton is causing feelings to run extremely high locally with anti-expansion campaigners very active, and for good reasons.

The new runway would not only see countryside ripped up and increased noise pollution for those living in the flight path but also, by increasing air traffic and making long-haul flights possible at Luton, it would add to the amount of horrible chemicals being blasted into the environment by planes.

In the aforementioned article on Sunday, I was astonished to read that even a humble little flight up to Edinburgh produces over EIGHT times the carbon dioxide emissions that the equivalent journey by train pumps out.

But still, so many of us like to fly (me included, when I get the chance).

And this to me sums up how air travel is a particularly modern dilemma, and possibly one without an easy solution, or at least one which is likely to happen.

Through the increasing availability and accessibility of flights, we've probably never had this much choice when it comes to travel, and as consumers we're only ever going to keep on demanding more.

But we are, at the same time, in a position where we simply have to start taking care of the world around us.

There are of course two fairly straightforward ways to solve this situation.

The Government could take positive action to deal with air travel and airport expansion, but this seems unlikely given that it was their White Paper which led to the expansion plans in the first place.

Or all of us seeking a bit of a break could hop on the train instead of the plane, which again seems unlikely, given that we're still so environmentally unaware that some people still don't recycle even though they have doorstep collections (I mean, come on, how hard is it?).

I think, however, what is more likely to happen is what always happens - we'll leave it to everyone else.

We'll be satisfied that a small minority of people are cutting down on flying, and we'll leave it to those hard-working protesters to oppose the new runway at Luton.

I personally, having looked into the issue, am pretty convinced I'm not going to fly this summer, but I'm just one person, and that's just one flight.

We all need to jump on board (excuse the airplane pun) if it's going to have any effect at all.

* On a different matter entirely, time for a bit of self-publicity. Don't forget to log on to our website at www.thecomet.net to read regular updates on my three-month fitness plan as well as all the latest news from Comet country.


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