The Airport Commission has published details of the submissions which it has received to date for best managing the increasing demand for airport capacity in the South East. 51 proposals are listed so far, ranging from the 'thoughtful' to the 'far fetched'. Not my words, but those of Sir Howard Davies, the Chair of the Airport Commission.
The public has until 26 September to comment on the proposals. The Commission will then produce an interim report before the end of the year and a final document in 2015.
The challenge for the Commission is to strike the right balance between speed and thoroughness.
I think the approach the Commission is taking now is the right one — consult, evaluate and recommend. “He would say that, wouldn’t he” might be your response.
But everything we have seen in the past few months, as we have set about our task, has convinced me that the stakes are very high, that the issues are astonishingly complex, and that Londoners would live to regret a poor decision reached in haste.
Sir Howard, writing in the Evening Standard.
It's worth remembering that Sir Howard's recommendations do not have to be accepted by the Government, and that given the timing of his final report, if the Coalition is no longer in power a Labour government may not even feel compelled to do anything with his findings.
Public opinion has coalesced around four likely options - capacity building at either Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted, or the creation of a new airport somewhere in the Thames Estuary. The proposals can be found here. Meanwhile, the BBC takes a look at some of the more unusual proposals presented to the Commission.