Boris Johnson: Heathrow third runway will not be built while I’m mayor
Boris yesterday said that reviving the plan “would be an environmental disaster”. He said: “It would mean a huge increase in plans over London, and intolerable traffic and fumes in the west of the city – and it will not be built as long as I am Mayor of London. That is why the Government is right to look at all new solutions for extra aviation capacity except the third runway at Heathrow.” The Department for Transport said last week opposition to a third runway at Heathrow is a “Coalition policy” that will not change. Ken LIvingstone also opposes a 3rd runway at Heathrow, arguing short-haul capacity should instead be switched from Heathrow to Gatwick and Stansted to open up more long-haul slots to emerging markets including India and China.
Boris Johnson has pledged a third runway at Heathrow “will not be built” while he is Mayor of London.
By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent (Telegraph)
26 Mar 2012
Last night, he said reviving the plan “would be an environmental disaster”.
He said: “It would mean a huge increase in plans over London, and intolerable traffic and fumes in the west of the city – and it will not be built as long as I am Mayor of London.
“That is why the Government is right to look at all new solutions for extra aviation capacity except the third runway at Heathrow.”
A row has broken out in the Coalition over fears George Osborne, the Chancellor, is trying to revive plans for expanding Heathrow Airport.”
Although the Conservatives pledged not to build an extra runway to Heathrow in their manifesto, senior Cabinet ministers are increasingly concerned that the airport’s capacity is at bursting point.
However, they face strong opposition to re-heating plans for a third runway from the Liberal Democrats and some Conservatives with nearby constituencies, such as Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary.
The Department for Transport said last week opposition to a third runway at Heathrow is a “Coalition policy” that will not change.
Yet there is growing speculation that a bigger Heathrow airport will be a plank of the next Conservative manifesto in the hope that the party will be governing without the Liberal Democrats in the next parliament.
It is understood Mr Osborne is a key advocate of more flights serving London, with officials currently looking at whether it can be expanded without the need for another runway.
One idea under consideration is linking Heathrow to another runway at RAF Northolt in Ruislip. This tiny airport in north London is used by the Queen and the military, but could potentially be expanded and connected to Heathrow with a high-speed rail line.
But sources close to the Chancellor said this idea would probably not provide London with the extra capacity it needs.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is firmly against the idea of an extra runway at Heathrow.
But a Liberal Democrat source said the party could be open to other ways of increasing flights in the the south-east.
“It’s clearly the case there are some ministers who support another Heathrow runway. We’d need to hear an extremely convincing argument to make the Liberal Democrats change our minds. Lots of people think increasing capacity means another runway at Heathrow or an airport in the middle of the Thames, but it doesn’t. There’s a lot of things we can do about increasing capacity” the source said.
A paper looking at the Coalition’s aviation policy is due to be published later this year with recommendations for increasing flights in the south-east of England.
Both Mr Osborne and the Prime Minister have argued in recent weeks that London needs more flights to stop Britain falling behind other countries as a place to do business.
David Cameron said he is “not blind” to the need for more airport capacity, while admitting that building more runways would be “controversial”.
He also promised to look carefully at the possibility of an airport in the Thames estuary, which is a plan championed by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
This idea has already angered backbench Conservative MPs and councillors, who claim a new airport would cost up to £70 billion and harm the environment.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph this month, a group of Conservatives joined forces with Professor Germaine Greer and politicians from all parties to claim the airport would destroy an area used by 300,000 migrating birds every year.
Zac Goldmsith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, last week threatened to resign if a third runway is built at Heathrow, near his south-west London constituency.
Boris’s Transport Manifesto is at http://www.backboris2012.com/system/storage/60/11/7/1499/Boris_Johnson_2012_Transport_Manifesto_Final.pdf
It says he will:
“Lobby for an increase in London’s aviation capacity through the development of a
new hub airport”
and it says:
“Heathrow, along with the thousands of people who work there, does a magnificent job in very constrained circumstances. It directly employs 76,000 people at the airport and supports another 180,000 jobs and I will do all I can to safeguard those jobs and the prosperity that comes with them”.
“Instead, London needs a new, modern hub airport to be built, serving London, the wider south east, and the nation at large. A new airport, constructed to the east of London, would contribute hugely to the regeneration of east London and by positioning flight paths over the Thames Estuary and the North Sea, the number of people affected by noise could be cut dramatically. Londoners and London businesses need the capacity to generate more prosperity, more jobs and more growth. A new modern airport financed, built and run by the
private sector and designed to handle 21st Century aviation demand would make a powerful contribution to that capacity. I will do all I can to make it a reality by working with the Government, neighbouring authorities and major investors.”
Ken Livingstone is opposed to a 3rd Heathrow runway:
Ken Livingstone, the Labour candidate for the mayoralty, opposes a third runway at Heathrow, arguing short-haul capacity should instead be switched from Heathrow to Gatwick and Stansted to open up more long-haul slots to emerging markets including India and China.
A spokesperson for Mr Livingstone said: “Reports that Boris Johnson’s Tory government are considering this show the Tory mayor’s claims to have successfully lobbied against the third runway are hollow and that people who voted Conservative on this basis have been betrayed.”