Cop Out!

The national media are fixed upon the incredible contortions over Brexit being performed by the political parties at Westminster. Until recent months, the political elite within the United Kingdom could console themselves with a rather patronising view of the antics of the oddball sitting across the pond in the White House. However, surely the truly objective observer would look on both parties with equal exasperation.  In both cases, the leading politicians appear to be completely detached from the priorities of the mass of people, allowing ego to supersede service.

Yet there is a similar situation occurring here in Liverpool.  Nearly two-thirds of Labour Party members in the city want to be rid of the post of elected mayor, reverting to a leader and cabinet model.  By a series of procedural manoeuvres, it appears that the Liverpool labour Party has kicked a decision into the long grass, with a possible delay of up to three years before a decision is made on the local party’s final decision.

Four of five local constituency Labour parties wanted the post abolished.  The fifth – Garston and Halewood – was against change (one wonders if Halewood members had a say, given that they do not live in Liverpool but in Knowsley).  Then the members of West Derby CLP were told their vote was invalid, as the “indicative” meeting to decide upon their view, was inquorate.

One should not be too surprised given the massive – and expensive – campaign to keep the post, featuring the present incumbent (Joe Anderson), the regional Labour Party office, and a couple of trade union regional secretaries.  Most important was the support of the Liverpool Echo, which appears to be more concerned with keeping Joe Anderson in position, rather than with the continued existence of the post itself.

This does not mean that the post will continue, or that, if it does, Joe Anderson will fill it.  Firstly, there are local people trying to organise a people’s petition to rid the city of the post.  Such a petition requires the signatures of just over 16100 registered electors in the city, for there to be a referendum on the question.  Thus, as the wider Labour Party in Liverpool resolves its collective view – important given its domination of city politics – it could well be left at the starting gate if the proposed petition gets off the ground.  Many electors are still fuming that, unlike in other cities, Liverpool electors were not given a vote on whether or not they would have an elected mayor.

Even if the post is retained, Mayor Anderson is not the shoo-in suggested, either as the Labour candidate or in the ballot for mayor itself.  Despite the barrage of false news about the city under his stewardship, there is widespread distaste for the current mayor, and a belief that he has done little to commend himself to voters. Of course, his friends in the Echo and in the business community will do all that they can to support him, in return for the slavish way in which he has met their demands.

Speaking of the Echo, I noted that its parent paper – the Mirror – published a survey on deprivation this week, based on official government figures.  According to the Mirror, none of the six boroughs in our city-region made it into the top forty of deprived boroughs.  Hull, Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Leicester and Newcastle were all up there, but the highest ranking in the LCR was Liverpool at forty-two!  I have always thought the Mirror to be sympathetic to our area, so make of their survey what you will.

One final point needs to be made.  Halton has always been a generally sensible borough, so I was mystified by a decision it made last week.  It gave up twenty-one hectares of green belt for a Runway End Safety Area abutting Speke Airport.  Now, I am no expert but this appears to be an extraordinarily large amount of land for this purpose, especially given that the airport remains in difficulties.  I am told there is no need for this extension, but, if there is, a much smaller area would suffice.

2 thoughts on “Cop Out!

  1. Dear Mr. Kilfoyle

    Your last paragraph is short, but I’m afraid the explanation is long. You are quite correct, LJLA did not require 21 ha of precious Green Belt for the RESA.

    Runway 27 is a code 4 runway (>1800m) and the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) has a 90m requirement for such a runway, with a recommended length of 240m. The runway is a 12bar runway (in theory 45m, but LJLA is 46m wide). A 30m Stopway/Blast pad is located at the end of 27. The ICAO rules don’t normally permit a Stopway to be utilised as part of the RESA, but it appears that LJLA was granted permission to utilise this as part of its RESA. In this case, it was about 15m short of the requisite 90m. In the case of the 240m ‘recommendation’, the RESA width would have been 92m wide. Thus, +/- 23m would be distributed symmetrically about the runway centreline. This did not require the acquisition of 21ha of precious Green Belt. In fact if one reads one of the documents submitted to the HBC planning officer, it’s clear the CAA had provided LJLA with alternatives. LJLA deliberately chose to close Dungeon Lane, because acquiring Hale Heath has been part of their long-term plan. No concern, whatsoever, at LJLA for the environment or the Climate Emergency.
    Second if you read the relevant CAA document [1] the CAA cited to Halton, it’s clear that none of the planning officers – or planning committee – actually bothered studying it. This example p27:

    ‘Runway and safety area (RESA). An area SYMMETRICAL about the extended runway centreline and adjacent to the end of the strip, primarily intended to reduce the risk of damage to an aeroplane undershooting or overrunning the runway’

    The word symmrytical is important in this context, because an undershoot is, by definition, a height issue – nothing to do with deviaiton from the runway centreline. Hence the reason why the RESA width can be relatively narrow. I have never in my life observed a RESA with this level of asymmetry.

    Then, p98

    3.67 ‘The RESA width should be that of the associated cleared and graded area, with a minimum of twice runway width, symmetrically disposed about the extended centreline of the runway’.

    In fact the, principal criterion for a RESA is the complete absence of any obstruction. Remember the LJLA planning application for the Solar farm? Why was this ever allowed to proceed when it actually violated the planning permission that had already been granted for the RESA? What on earth is going on within HBC planning department?

    The LJLA 2050 Master Plan – and runway extension proposal – also contains serious flaws that do not stand up to close examination. Worst of all, one does not require an MBA to obsever the perrilous finacial state of LJLA.

    [1] CAA Safety regulation group ‘Licensing of Aerodromes CAP168’ Edition 11 January 2019 p27, p98

    Liked by 1 person

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