Heathrow runway hint as airport tsar says new runways WILL have to be built in the South East
More runways will have to be built in the South East of England if the UK is to avoid aviation gridlock, Britain’s airports tsar said yesterday.
Sir Howard Davies did not give a preferred option but the tone of his speech appeared to raise the odds of a highly controversial extra runway at Heathrow, says The Mail.
He did not even mention in his speech the so-called ‘Boris Island’ plans for a Thames Estuary airport championed by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Sir Howard was detailing the provisional findings of his investigation into solving the problem of Britain’s bursting airport capacity.
He said simply expanding regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester would not provide a solution.
The Mail reported that residents reacted “with fury” to Heathrow’s three published options that would mean a sixth terminal T6 at Heathrow, and a seventh likely to follow. It said that local communities have threatened action in the High Court to halt it.
Sir Howard said:
‘Our provisional conclusion is that we will need some net additional runway capacity in the South East of England in the coming decades.’
He stressed that to rely ‘only on runways currently in operation’ would mean a poorer service for passengers and could damage the economy.
Sir Howard, who chairs the Government’s Airports Commission, will deliver a short-list of options at the end of the year, followed by a single recommendation to ministers in 2015.
He said the final recommendation could involve expansion at more than one airport – such as Heathrow and Gatwick or Stansted.
Despite failing to mention the ‘Boris Island’ options in his speech, he insisted afterwards that the Thames Estuary plans were still on the table.
‘I would be interested in comments on the analysis I have set out today.’
The commission has indicated that it would welcome responses commenting on the emerging thinking and analysis set out in the speech by October 31st giving Colnbrook residents another opportunity to directly influence the Commission.
The Airports Commission was launched in November last year but its final recommendations will not be implemented – if at all – until after the next General Election.