LondonUnlocked

The long grass and the battle over London's air capacity

Articles, The Future of HeathrowEditor
Here's The Times' editorial from today:
This is a decision of major economic and strategic importance. The urgency of the economic case for extra airport capacity means that every lost day is lost business. It is clear that where London has a direct flight to a city, trade between those two entrepôts is greatly increased.
That this statement of fact finds its way to print is because Sir Howard Davies yesterday launched his inquiry into air capacity. During an interview on the Today Programme, Sir Howard said:
Politics dictate that, for reasons we all understand, the coalition has said they are not going to make this decision before the election... We do have to do all of that and I think we can do that under the aegis of the commission, so that when the new government comes into office in 2015, when they make a decision, it will have a flying start...
Many, the Mayor included think that this timescale is problematic. Here's the Mayor, again from the same Today Programme:

In order to get mixed mode at Heathrow, which would be violently unpopular…it would take at least 10 years. On the current timetable - it would take until 2020 to get permissions and that’s very optimistic.

The runway at Heathrow simply will not happen. There is absolutely no need for us to delay. In the next 10 years they will build 52 new runways in China. In the UK they will build nil. It is a policy of utter inertia.

And perhaps the Mayor has a point.
The Commission will produce an interim report by the end of next year and then publish in full ahead of the next General Election in 2015. Given the vagaries of planning law and political will, a solution may be well-beyond the horizon. The Government needs to act on this issue, and fast.
Sir Howard will certainly have his hands full. Below are a selection of the latest articles regarding airport capacity in the UK:
The Labour opposition in Westminster have called for this programme to be accelerated, as has the Mayor, and also Lord Heseltine in his review of British growth. Now the Government must step up. It's time for the politicians to make a decision and campaign on it.
[learn_more caption="The Davies Commission"] Sir Howard Davies' commission into airport capacity will produce an interim report before the end of 2013, and a full paper ahead of the 2015 General Election. The commission members are: Sir Howard Davies, Geoff Muirhead CBE, Prof Ricky Burdett, Sir John Armitt, and Prof Dame Julia King.[/learn_more]