I think airports are particularly important to Britain’s economic growth because under this government over the last ten years the big success area has been the colossal growth in business and financial services, particularly the growth of London, and you wouldn’t be able to achieve that without sufficient airport capacity so that people can fly in and out when they’re making their deals and making their investments and having their meetings, and you couldn’t make it without very good telecommunications which fortunately liberalisation and privatisation has delivered in Britain and which allows those businesses to flourish.
“If you start to get either of those things wrong, not enough airport capacity, misery in moving through the airports, not good telecommunications and computer infrastructure, then you will start to lose the jewel in the crown of the British economy.
He also advocates carrots rather than sticks to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour...
I always think it’s easier to encourage people to green behaviour by giving tax breaks or tax reductions than it is to penalise people who may have made sensible decisions at the time and not give them time to adjust properly their spending patterns. It is, for example, a bit dangerous to tax fuel very heavily in a way which penalises people living in rural areas who simply don’t have access to public transport or to a decent alternative, so you have to be careful if you’re going the heavy tax route.
Redwood also warned that taxes on flights from Britain could cause “an economic loss” without “a green gain” since travellers could choose to fly from foreign airports...
My report is about having a Britain that can compete, and one of the most powerful arguments that we produce on airports is that if you tax too much and regulate too much in Britain, it won’t stop British businesses and British people flying. They will simply get on a train or plane to Schipol or to Charles de Gaulle and then take the main flight from there.Bang on the money in all respects.
That’s already beginning to happen a bit because of the chaos at Heathrow, and that isn’t a green gain, it’s just an economic loss to Britain, so you need a balance, you need to accept that there is going to be some airport and air travel growth and if it doesn’t happen here it’ll happen somewhere else.