What the papers said

How planning matters were reported nationally.

Japan's bullet train marks half-century

Fifty years ago the first Shinkansen bullet train pulled out of Tokyo station, bound for Osaka. The Guardian wrote that the bullet train has since "sucked the country's workforce into Tokyo, rendering an increasingly huge part of the country little more than a bedroom community for the capital". The story added that the Shinkansen's focus on Tokyo has had a "crucial effect" on the physical shape of the city. "Tokyo is becoming even denser and more vertical - not just upward, but downward," it reported. The Economist said Japan is now developing plans for a route through the mountains of the Yamanashi prefecture, which would reach speeds in excess of 500kph. "The idea is to shrink the Tokyo-Osaka journey ... to about an hour - in effect rendering Japan's industrial heartland a suburb of Tokyo," it reported. The Telegraph observed that, in 50 years of operations, transporting ten billion travellers, there has never been a passenger fatality caused by a derailment or collision on the service.

Studies give ammunition to wind farm critics

"Could living near a wind farm make you DEAF?" asked the Daily Mail. It ran a story on a University of Munich study, which has found that the "barely audible low-frequency hum" emitted by turbines harms the "exquisite mechanics of our inner ears". According to the newspaper, a study of 21 healthy young men and women who were exposed to such a sound revealed that most had experienced changes in cells in the cochlear. Meanwhile, a separate study has found that turbines are responsible for luring bats to their deaths, according to the Telegraph. It reported that researchers from the United States Geological Survey discovered that bats "think turbines are trees in which they can find shelter, food and sex".

Aviation expansion debate continues circling

The Guardian reported that Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways' owners International Airlines Group, has said the UK's political class lacks the character required to push through a policy as controversial as a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Elsewhere, London mayor Boris Johnson defended the £5 million spent so far on his Thames estuary airport proposal, which was rejected by the government's Airports Commission last month. The London Evening Standard noted that the mayor said: "It's well worth it when you consider the very great progress we've made on identifying transport routes, corridors of development that are going to be absolutely essential for this city anyway."

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