15 January 2009

Greenpeace uses property rights to protest

Luddites they may be, and driven by an irrational desire to strangle British airports (which will simply transfer business to continental European ones), but Greenpeace is at least taking a rational approach to protesting the plans to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport - buying up some of the land needed.

Emma Thompson, Alistair McGowan and Tory nitwit brat Zac Goldsmith have all put up money to buy a field north of Heathrow, which BAA wants as part of its proposed third runway, according to the Daily Telegraph. The intent, of course, is to stop BAA being able to buy all the relevant land, and frankly - from a libertarian point of view - they should be perfectly entitled to do so.

You see ultimately they can make a rational choice. BAA can offer a price which is as much as it is willing to do so to buy the land, and if Greenpeace can take the money (which could fund countless other campaigns) or sit on the land and let BAA try something different.

Of course BAA can ultimately undertake compulsory purchase because it is legally allowed to, and like most businesses today, will use the law to the extent it can to make money. Greenpeace of course doesn't give a damn about property rights, it happily supports those breaking and entering private property to engage in protests - like a recent bunch of fools at Stansted Airport.

So all in all, it's not something significant - an organisation that has scant regard for private property rights is using it to delay a rational commercial project by a private company. I've always said that if BAA can finance a third runway at Heathrow commercially, and buy the land to build it, it shouldn't be prevented from doing so. There may be issues around noise, but unless flights comprise a nuisance over and above that accepted by property owners on flightpaths, it shouldn't be an issue. Yes, I have lived under the flightpath myself.

Of course, if someone can put forward a private business case for a new airport for London at Thames, like Boris Johnson supports, let them do so. However, I wont be holding my breath, sadly.


StephenR said...

Mildly interesting. What are your thoughts on organisations like the Nature Conservancy, who's sole mission seems to be buying up land for the sake of protecting it?

ZenTiger said...

So technically, they could divide the land into one inch blocks and sell off all but one square inch, and use the tyranny of the few to prevent the tyranny of the rich?

Sounds confusing.