London's Airports : the wedge between London and government


200811101724.jpgIt is now almost a ritual that as soon as Boris Johnson proclaims his estuary airport idea a winner, the Government will send out a barrage of press releases rubbishing the plan. And so this week is no different:

Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, will use a full-scale Commons debate on the runway plans on Tuesday to send the clearest signal yet that the Government will give the go-ahead to the expansion of Heathrow within weeks.

The Telegraph, 9th November 2008

Mayor Boris Johnson is preparing to appoint the civil engineer who helped build Hong Kong's island airport to conduct a feasibility study into the plan.

It comes as MPs set up a cross-party group to lobby the Government to investigate the Thames estuary idea.

The Evening Standard, 10th November 2008

Where this leads is, at the moment, anyone's guess. Clearly both Mr Hoon and the Mayor feel like they hold the upper hand - Geoff Hoon being prepared to risk a parliamentary vote on the matter, and Mr Johnson bringing Douglas Oakervee into proceedings.

The only surety is that whilst they publicly dither, London becomes a less attractive prospect to incoming business. In the current climate, that is not good news.