If Howard Davies’ commission looking at options for expanding airport capacity gives the nod to a third runway at Heathrow there could be ‘open warfare’.According to the Evening Standard that’s what Boris Johnson says is going to happen if the Davies Commission makes the ‘catastrophic mistake’ of recommending the third runway solution. The Davies Commission’s final report was promised for after the next election but an interim report is due out next week.
The Standard is reporting that Davies’ initial work has identified three options for expansion… all of which involve one or two additional runways at Heathrow. Funny dat. The first is the ‘traditional’ third runway option, the second is two additional runways at Heathrow, and the third involves one more at Heathrow and one at Gatwick. There’s no sign of Boris Island although the paper does also report that ‘Heathrow expansion fan’ George Osborne favours the inclusion of the Boris plan or Stansted expansion as a fourth option – just to make up the numbers in the report, as it were.
So much for the idea that the airport discussion amnesty would last until 2015, it’s lasted just a few months. We can tell that you’re not entirely surprised by the news either.
* Standard Online
17 Dec 2013: The interim Davies report has shortlisted the following options which will now be subject to further investigation:
1) A new, 3,500 metre runway at Heathrow to the north-west of the airport;
2) Extending Heathrow’s existing northern runway. This would then become a 6,000 metre (!) runway which could be used for take-offs and landings;
3) A second runway at Gatwick.
And we assume that combinations of the above will be considered too. There’s no south-west runway option at Heathrow on the shortlist. Expansion at Birmingham and Stansted are effectively ruled out for the time being. Meanwhile the Boris Island option in the Thames Estuary is not on the list but will be looked at in 2014 to assess whether it’s remotely viable. So, some form of expansion at Heathrow looks a likely recommendation although the airport lovers’ ‘stick’ of two additional runways doesn’t explicitly feature at the moment. We assume the ‘carrot’ is the chance for more planes landing from Chinese mega-cities. With intense lobbying now going on from both sides, the battle over Heathrow expansion seems to have well and truly resumed.
El Brute are opposed to it and have issued a press release condemning expansion plans and warning about “caving in to the big foreign interests who dominate the ownership of Heathrow”. Zac Goldsmith’s opposed to it and is drumming up support for a petition. Twickenham MP Vince Cable is against it, tweeting, “I’m strongly opposed to the proposals for Heathrow expansion & shall be making that view known in the strongest terms”.