The continued procrastination over whether to expand Heathrow Airport seems to play into a much wider theme in the British (and particularly the English ) planning system.
It is almost impossible to plan for the long term infrastructure and housing needs of the country without causing controversy.
"Large scale" or strategic developments; such as airport expansions, high speed rail lines and even modest urban extensions of several hundred houses can be deeply unpopular projects in the short-term. A fact of which both national and local politicians are deeply aware.
This leaves decision makers with a choice: necessary long term development or short term political expediency. Often the short term pressures win out, a fact which has contributed to the current housing crisis and also to the lack of investment in infrastructure in the UK.
The Heathrow decision will be a good indication as to whether this is about to change.
A decision whether to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport has been officially delayed until at least next summer, the government has announced.This will mean yet another review of the arguments for and against a third runway at Heathrow, in west London - or the alternative: a second runway at Gatwick, directly to the south of London. Whatever decision the government eventually takes is likely to prove controversial - both among those arguing for more airport capacity as quickly as possible if the UK economy is not to suffer, and among those arguing that the drawbacks of expanding Heathrow would outweigh any benefits. Essentially it comes down to politics and the environment.