How to kick a manufacturer when they’re down

Car manufacturers parking-up vast numbers of new vehicles is nothing new. In previous economic downturns, many disused airfields have been filled with unsold cars. So, natually, the Adver’s reporting of Honda’s planning application to store cars at Wroughton Airfield, is a piece of calm writing about current economic problems over-the-top sensationalism.

HONDA is planning to dump nearly 7,000 cars in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The cars will be guarded round the clock and wrapped in plastic: doesn’t seem much like dumping to me. Yes the airfield is within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), but it hardly fits that description itself. Filling the runways with 6,600 cars will only be noticeable to those flying overhead. (The runways aren’t visible from Barbury Castle, though the hangars are.) Fifteen car transporter round-trips each day will be more apparent (about one every 24 minutes), but it’s not as though they’ll be travelling along quiet country lanes.

And in one of those bizarre outcomes that only planning regulations can produce, the portacabin where a security guard will sit is to be painted white or grey ‘to reduce visibility within the AONB’. Clearly, on a runway filled with cars — also to be covered in grey plastic — and surrounded by old hangars, the colour of one small portacabin is vital to keep the place pretty.