Gordon Brown has decided that the third runway at Heathrow will go ahead despite the fact that virtually everyone who lives in the area opposes it. That's modern democracy for you.
My opposition to the runway is based, admittedly, on nimbyism - although, in my opinion, very justifiably. Living on the Heathrow flightpath as I do I'm well used to the virtual non-stop aircraft noise over my house. It is so regular that I can not see how they can increase it without compromising safety in some way. The air space over this part of England is already over crowded and more runways will mean more over crowding. Air traffic control technology may ave improved but human error is still as likely as ever and it is only a matter of time before something happens.
Apart from all that, I don't think the case for a third runway has been made. Claims that companies like Microsoft will leave the UK if there is no expansion are false and alarmist. There are many considerations companies will make when deciding where to open (or close) an office - and one of the least important is whether the airport is really busy.
Secondly, people fly into the UK only if they have business in the UK. Even if Microsoft moved out of the UK (which they wouldn't entirely) they'd still have to do have people fly into the country if they want to do business here - and it's not as if there aren't enough flights anyway. Many flights from USA to UK are half empty.
Thirdly, if they want to fly into the UK, why do they have to fly into Heathrow? There are plenty of other airports around. Microsoft is located near Reading - 30 miles from Heathrow. It is just as easy to get to from Stansted or Birmingham International (probably easier some times).
All they will do by building a third runway at Heathrow is entrench the concentration of business in the South East of England and London in particular even more. What we actually want, if anything, is to encourage these businesses to set up in other parts of the UK. It would make much more sense to improve facilities in the South West, Midlands and North of England than it would to encourage more and more businesses to set up in London (which is already over crowded, over congested and over concreted).
There is NO case for a third runway at Heathrow. It isn't necessary and it certainly isn't desirable - but the government plan to do it anyway even though most people aren't convinced by it. I don't know why, but I do know that it isn't because that is what is best for Britain.