My attention was drawn to a letter in the Telegraph from CAFOD and Christian Aid. Why is the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development involved in in ecological lobbying about a distinctly London issue?
SIR - A new hub airport in the Thames Estuary would be a disaster for the environment, and, as a result, for people and wildlife in this country and globally. What's more, there is no clear support for this airport from the British aviation industry. We know this because similar proposals have been considered by previous governments on at least three occasions, and each time they've been thrown out If anything, the case for Boris Island will only look worse this time round, because action on climate change is needed more urgently than ever. Aviation is already responsible for more than a fifth of the UK transport sector's greenhouse gas emissions, and an airport accommodating 180 million passengers each year, as proposed by Boris Johnson, would be much larger than any airport in operation in the world today. Such a scheme would effectively be the death knell for the Government's promise to be the greenest ever, and would undermine its ability to show international climate leadership. That's why we will be opposing it every step of the way.Telegraph Letters Sat 21 Jan 2012, Eric Hester seems to sum up my own thoughts.
Paul Brannen, Christian Aid
Neil Thorns, Cafod
Martin Harper, RSPB
Craig Bennet, Friends of the Earth
and 10 others; see telegraph.co.uk
SIR - It is not surprising that a letter disagreeing with a Thames Estuary airport as "a disaster for the environment" is signed by representatives of Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. It is surprising that it is also signed by representatives of Christian Aid and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. If Christian charities that collect money to help people in poor parts of the world know nothing about the subject, it seems odd to sign a public letter. If they allow staff to spend time studying the facts about the airport, how can they can justify using them in this way rather than in the ways for which people donate money - helping the world's poor? Eric HesterAn airport in the Thames estuary might indeed be environmentally damaging but there other agencies which have a role in pointing this out like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Friends of the Earth, or Green Peace even the Green Party but the involvement of the Catholic Church of England and Wales' fund for overseas development seems to stretching their mandate more than a little.
It raises the issue, yet again, as to whether CAFOD is opposing Boris' Island simply because CAFOD allies itself with British left-wing politics.