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Uncertainty, cost and noise undermine the case for a new runway at Heathrow

The Airports Commission reported in July, with a clear recommendation to build a new runway and terminal at Heathrow. It relied heavily on an elaborate modelling exercise that calculated costs and benefits for the next 50 years. Little weight should be attached to these calculations. And more consideration should be given to the Gatwick proposal.

The case for a new runway at Heathrow is overstated, Prime Minister

If the capital costs of Heathrow expansion could be substantially reduced and its actual financing costs were also trimmed, that project would merit further consideration. Otherwise, a second runway at Gatwick appears simpler, cheaper, less risky and less politically unpalatable.

Taxi apps should be hailed for breaking the cabby cartel

Taxi licensing illustrates regulatory capture, the phenomenon by which regulation intended to serve the public is hijacked by industry interests.

High time to abandon the spurious case for a high-speed railway

Rail demand might increase substantially further, or it might not. If it does, there are many strategies more flexible, and orders of magnitude cheaper, than a new high-speed line.

The tyranny of the minority in the age of technology

Most people have little time or energy to devote to politics, which enables small groups with a strong commercial, personal or ideological motivation to exert disproportionate influence.

London’s rise from sewer to spectacle

The salient fact is that London could never have become a great business and financial capital if its residents felt an urge to vomit every time they went outdoors.

London’s new airport held to ransom by folly

Prevarication and political posturing, the persistent incrementalism when bold actions are required and the readiness to oppose policies simply because they have been espoused by somebody else, are as characteristic of policy today as they have been for the past 50 years.

Why do we need to pay billions of pounds for big projects?

The argument that we need the best and latest is powerful in political decision making, even among people who would never behave that way in their everyday lives.

Policy Exchange Event

On the 27th March, John spoke at an event hosted by Policy Exchange on the issues of obliquity, long-term decision making and the limitations of knowledge in relation to energy and transport policy. Watch it here.

Why the Pembury road matters more than the Olympics

This month’s budget in Britain will provoke yet another round of debate on austerity versus stimulus. But the issue of how we spend what we have is more important than the issue of what we spend.