Plane Stupid to turn Gatwick into newt sanctuary
The uber-capitalists at the Competition Commission have given their final verdict: BAA is to be forced to sell Gatwick, Edinburgh and Stansted. The Commission wants to see more competition, by which it means more expansion at every airport. But how will the credit crunch impact on potential buyers? Who cares: Plane Stupid is offering to buy the airport and turn it into a newt sanctuary.
You might think that we don't have anything like the money needed to buy an airport - and on the surface of it you'd be right. But thanks to the wonders of venture capitalism and carbon trading, we've been able to concoct a marvellous scheme which should bring in the bucks. Gatwick emits millions of tonnes of CO2: 5 million annually, to be precise. Each tonne retails for $20 dollars or so, if it hits the Government's 'gold standard', so that's one hundred million dollars a year.
But we're not stopping Gatwick for just one year: we're closing it permanently. That unlocks decades worth of credits, and we can sell them now. 25 years would bring us in $2.5 billion; £1.6 billion in devalued sterling. But why stop there: if we claim we had plans to build eight new runways and terminals all over the place (but can be paid not to) then we get to sell those credits as well. That's easily going to bring in the last £400 million. Who says market-based initiatives are rubbish then? Certainly not the newts...