Friday, January 16, 2009

Heathrow: If only they had listened to Sir Reginald Bennett

Here is Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett, as Hansard calls him, speaking in the Commons on 11 May 1951:
I am informed in another answer which I received today, that to build the aerodrome at Heathrow, 57 houses have had to be demolished. The further runways north of the Bath Road may involve the demolition of some 600 residential properties and a further 150 properties may have to be demolished for the final stage of development. That is, 800 houses have to go to make this one airport. I will not say any more about that. We need not be so sanguine about the housing situation as to view that with equanimity.

Another figure relevant to Heathrow Airport is this. The ground required for Heathrow alone is 4,600 acres. If that area, good land as it is, were sown with wheat, it would provide enough to keep 70,000 people of our population supplied with bread all the year round. If we have several aerodromes of this size there will be very little left of this island, and we have to weigh other interests against that of aviation. Surely the accumulation of these facts is very heavily against the infinite development of the concrete runway.
Sir Reginald Bennett was MP for Gosport and Fareham from 1950 to February 1974 and then for Fareham until 1979. According to his Daily Telegraph obituary, his publications included Why Executives Die Young and Psychological Disturbances of Young Married Life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oddly enouhg another MP called bennett - Georffrey Bennett,Labour MP for Middlesbrough West and a former RAF pilot - asked what was probably the first ever parliamentary question about Heathrow in October 1945 and received a very prescient reply form a Minister. You can find the Hansard Transcript from