There is yet to be an official announcement, but the BBC is reporting as fact the news that Boris Johnson's plans for an airport in the Thames Estuary are to be rejected by Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission. That leaves Sir Howard to choose between Gatwick and Heathrow expansion when making his recommendations to the Government. Neither are ideal. Heathrow expansion is politically toxic, while there are questions over whether any solution at these sites would only serve to provide an expensive, short term fillip.
A criticism of the Commission (or rather the current Government which set it up) was that it was designed to kick a difficult problem into the long grass rather than find a solution. Increasingly it's feeling like that is the case.
We do need greater airport capacity and, to a certain extent, any solution should be welcomed. However, it's difficult to applaud a decision which seems designed to provide a sticking plaster rather than the medicine that the patient really needs. Where is the big, long-term thinking? What can Heathrow or Gatwick's plans offer that will tackle the demand we will face in 2050? It is hard not to agree with Daniel Moylan when he calls this decision 'sadly short sighted.'