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Boris Johnson: Airports Commission's confusing consultation is failing London

Staff writer ▼ | February 9, 2015
The Mayor of London has told the Government Commission tasked with recommending the shape of future airport provision in the south-east that the options they have shortlisted at Heathrow will cost the taxpayer more than they are admitting.
Boris Johnson
The Mayor of London   17 documents submitted to the airport commission
It would contain significant safety risks that have not been approved by the aviation authorities, and would inevitably expose several hundred thousand more Londoners to excess levels of aircraft noise.

In his response to a consultation being run by the Airports Commission the Mayor also highlighted the poor economic benefits from any expansion at Gatwick airport and the major investment in new surface transport links that would be needed to expand there.

The Mayor's team have submitted seventeen new documents to the Commission which provide a thorough analysis of the three shortlisted options. That includes a conclusion that the impact on public finances has not been fully assessed. The Commission have been heavily reliant on information from the promoters that requires further work before it can be deemed in any way credible.

The Mayor's team also believe that by keeping options at Heathrow and Gatwick on the table the Airports Commission have revealed that they are, amazingly, still unsure on the fundamental question of whether the United Kingdom requires a new large airport or not; as two of the options aim to provide a hub while the other would mean abandoning the UK's hub capacity over time to our European rivals.

The Mayor's support in principle for a large hub airport is well known. The Commission have attempted to show how the number of people who will be exposed to potentially harmful levels of aircraft noise could be lower than today. However this relies on a number of factors which are uncertain, many of which are unrelated to a new runway.

TfL's noise modelling shows that the only result of a new runway at Heathrow will be a substantial increase in the number of people exposed to noise, and that this is the inescapable result of flying more aircraft over a city that only this week reached a new record level of population. Heathrow's announcement earlier this week that they will extend noise insulation to an additional 120,000 homes is proof of the problem.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Sadly the options shortlisted by the Airports Commission reveal that they are thoroughly confused about what the country needs and unfortunately it seems that whatever their final recommendation is, it will be the wrong one.

"There is still time for them to see the light, but if they fail to see that their approach fails on several fronts then it will be for the Government elected in May to give very serious thought to plans that would provide us with a hub airport with the capacity to get even larger."