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Articles, The Future of HeathrowEditorComment

As BAA begin their appeal against the Competition Commission's ruling that they have to give up three airports, the Mayor continues tilting at the idea of an estuary airport.

Doug Oakervee, commissioned by the Mayor to look into the scheme, has declared the four-runway travel-hub, with high-speed rail links to Heathrow and the Eurostar as technically feasible. Now the Mayor has signalled his continued enthusiasm for the project by asking Sir David King to conduct a more detailed study.

Sir David will consider several points in his study:

  • the future of airports in the South East of London
  • the environmental impact of a new airport
  • possible energy generation schemes at the site

Whilst Sir David, Kit Malthouse, Sir Terry Farrell, and Nick Raynsford examine these points in more detail, the Mayor has restated his belief that funding can be found from the sovereign wealth funds of China and the Gulf states.

Opposition to the estuary airport is still intense: the leader of Kent County Council has called the plans 'totally horrendous', the RSPB are highlighting the site's importance for water birds, and the London Chambers of Commerce have thrown doubt on the economics of the project. The Government still also oppose the project, but with BAA making the politically astute decision to shelve plans for a third runway at Heathrow due to Conservative opposition, all eyes are on Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers to see if she will support the Mayor's vision.