Many people feel that the UK is losing its position on the world stage, which might sound to some as if we're somehow shrinking. But the facts are that other economies, such as China where seven airports are built every year, are growing in a way that's almost unimaginable to us. We have to decide what role London will take, and how relevant it will be over the next 50 years.
The Airports Commission, as an independent but taxpayer funded organisation, has a duty to the public not to recommend a project that would significantly damage people's health. It would also be a poor use of taxpayer's money to make recommendations that invite a legal challenge. That is why it is possible to imagine a concerned Airports Commission member of staff hurriedly typing away on his or her phone at the back of the courtroom this week.
Do any of the new proposals deliver on environmental issues? Many of the new ideas, such as noise compensation schemes and a congestion charge, aim to tackle these impacts but much of what has been proposed either misses the key questions or makes impressive promises on issues that are outside the control of airports.
Without any reassurances from the independent Commission, communities will look to politicians to provide them. The Airports Commission has failed for now to achieve its purpose to take the politics out of the airports debate. Has this week's announcement really given the green light to a new runway or just reopened the political debate?