Town mouse hears the helicopters

It isn’t only snow that has been falling from the sky in these parts. Last week, two of the boys set off for school and noticed a helicopter overhead. It disappeared into low cloud and, by the time William had gone the one Tube stop to Vauxhall, it had crashed. The obstacle was a crane attached to the ‘John Prescott Memorial Tower’-a high-rise block of flats in the form of an upended truncheon, approved by the then Secretary of State against all opposition.

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I don’t usually object to the advantages of the super rich, simply because I can’t afford them. But helicopters do generate a huge amount of noise, for those toiling at literary and other works beneath their path, in relation to the number of people carried. Now, we appreciate that they’re dangerous.

I used to enjoy seeing Concorde, another noisy vehicle; helicopters don’t have beauty to recommend them. Important people need to move around, and London has to keep up: other major cities have many more heliports. But London’s chief heliport, at Battersea, is so constricted that it can’t even garage its craft. To pick up, machines have to fly in from Farnborough. There’s a simple answer. Close it and build more heliports in the east, as far from Pimlico as possible.

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