"Too expensive", "too far from central London" and "difficult" - that's what the Mayor's advisors and spokespeople have been briefing out to the papers in the last couple of days about his original plans for a 'Boris Island' airport. Instead, at an event today, the Mayor is due to present his preferred three options for meeting airport capacity in the South East:
- An airport at the Isle of Grain (the slimmed-down proposal put forward by Lord Foster)
- An airport in the Thames Estuary (the 'original' Boris Island proposal)
- An extension of capacity at Stansted.
The Mayor's plans include his thinking on the future of Heathrow - creating a new London borough with up to 200,000 homes and a new university in the area. Many of the 70,000+ employed currently at Heathrow will, no doubt, see those plans as small comfort.
Insiders have been saying for some time that the Mayor's original plan was likely to be ditched, with Stansted expansion being the likely option to be championed at City Hall. One can only imagine that the Mayor (who says that the PM is amenable to the idea) thinks that this scheme might be better favoured in No 10 and the DfT, and that the experience of Lord Foster on the project will be seen as a real plus.
The Davies Commission is set to publish an interim report in December and then make recommendations to Government in 2015, after the General Election.