Newslinks: Airports special

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditorComment

The battle over the future of London's airports continues.

The Mayor's first official interview since resuming power renewed the call for a hub airport to be built in the Thames estuary. Now, one of his aides has progressed the argument:

“Building this airport will be transformative for London and the Thames Estuary in a major way and have huge long-term benefits. It’s not an exaggeration to say the effects will still be felt in 500 years’ time.”

And it would seem that the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, is marching in step, having told a travel conference that: “we don’t think the third runway is the right thing.”

The Independent continues: Ms Greening also said that “mixed-mode” would not be considered in the government’s review of airport capacity. This technique, enabling aircraft to land and take off from both Heathrow runways, extracts at least 25 per cent more capacity with no extra building. But it would greatly increase the amount of noise endured by residents beneath the flight path – including those in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, the parliamentary constituency she represents.

The consultation on London's airport capacity is due to launch next month - it's clear that for the transport secretary one option is already off the table.

Others are making the case for Heathrow expansion though. Lords Soley, Spicer and Tugendhat have called for growth there, with Lord Soley claiming that expansion of Heathrow would add £8bn to Britain's GDP.

And while others make the case for Heathrow, more weigh in against plans for a new hub led by, amongst others, the Leader of Gravesham Council. Kent County Council has even released its own aviation policy document, Bold Steps for Aviation (pdf download), calling for a rail link between Heathrow and Gatwick, and a second runway at the latter.

Needless to say, the Government and the Mayor can't please everyone and this is a decision which they can't afford to kick into the long grass.