Monday, 8 December 2008

Plane Stupid at Stansted

I've been watching the BBC News Channel reports about the Plane Stupid protest at Stansted. While I'm not suggesting that breaking the law is a good idea, it's been very interesting to hear the reactions to the protest.

There has been a lot of comment that people have been disrupted and that flights are a necessity for business and people going on holiday. There have even been complaints about the action by a group of delegates on their way to a conference about climate change in Poland.

Firstly, I can't help but think there's something ironic about catching a plane to a conference on climate change. Surely the best way to do this would be through technologies such as teleconferencing which would eliminate the need to travel at all. Or if not, Poland is pretty easily reachable by rail (check out /http://seat61.com/Poland.htm to find out how). I travelled to a gig in Hamburg this way earlier in the year and it's a really nice way to travel, both relaxing and allowing you to see a lot more than you are able to from a train.

I also wonder how many of the flights were as necessary as people seem to think. I'm very often surprised and disappointed how many people that I meet at various get togethers have travelled by plane, particularly if coming from Scotland to the south of England. While a high speed rail link could very well help to cut a lot of these journeys, and could easily be paid for if the money being proposed for airport expansions were used for this instead, I find it's the opinion of trains compared to planes which needs to be addressed.

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