Evening Standard says Boris Johnson wants a 2nd runway at Stansted (and to be PM so he can build the estuary airport)
Boris says a 2nd Stansted runway, and high speed rail to the airport,as an “interim solution” would be, in his words, a “fantastic step in the right direction” to solving the South-East’s (alleged) air capacity crisis before building a new hub in the Thames Estuary. Boris is complaining that David Cameron, in response to the barrage of lobbying for a new runway at Heathrow, has not ruled it out after the next election in 2015 – and Boris says this is detracting from his plans for the mega airport in the Thames estuary. BAA said building runway 2 at Stansted “will not solve the UK’s hub airport capacity crisis” and would just “increase the amount of spare capacity there.” Boris’s comments will be seen as an acceptance that the Government will not immediately opt for his estuary airport plan. Oh, and he wants to be Prime Minister too – so he can get the estuary airport plan through….
Boris Johnson has given his support to plans to build a second runway at Stansted Airport, the Standard can reveal.
18 June 2012
The Mayor said another runway at the airport would be a “fantastic step in the right direction” to solving the South-East’s air capacity crisis before building a new hub in the Thames Estuary.
And he launched a blistering attack on the Government after David Cameron refused to rule out reconsidering expanding Heathrow following the next election in 2015.
Mr Johnson accused the Prime Minister of using “divide and rule” tactics and said his comments about a third runway at Heathrow were “a ruse designed to dissipate the energy of a campaign for a new airport”.
Quoting Winston Churchill the Mayor added: “The Government is basically resolved to be irresolute, adamant
for drift.” He said he still firmly believes that the South-East needs a new airport in the long term.
Mr Johnson is the most senior figure to call for a new runway at Stansted. The Crossrail project would be extended to serve the airport.
“It would be a good interim solution,” he said. “A lot of money is now moving on to Stansted and the possibility of a high-speed rail link up there. You could be just as fast, if not faster, than at Heathrow.”
His comments will be seen as an acceptance that the Government will not immediately opt for his favoured solution of a four-runway mega-hub — dubbed Boris Island — to be built in the Thames Estuary.
“If we built another runway at Stansted and put in a high-speed line that would be a fantastic step in the right direction,” he added. “And then [we can] look at another hub. All options must be looked at.”
In an interview with New York Magazine published today Mr Johnson again hinted that he may make a bid to lead the Tory Party in the future.
He said: “We have to have a new airport. One of the only reasons I want to assume supreme power in England is to make sure that happens. For God’s sake, don’t quote me saying that.”
In his most outspoken attack yet on the Coalition, Mr Johnson told the Standard he believed Mr Cameron was simply trying to “muddy the waters” by hinting at a possible Heathrow U-turn. He said: “The whole decision to re-open [discussion about] Heathrow is designed to cause confusion — to muddy the waters and allow the process to become delayed for as long as possible. It’s a procrastination device.
“The Government strategy at the moment is divide and rule. It’s a ruse designed to dissipate the energy of a campaign for a new airport.”
Mr Cameron last week repeated the position in the Coalition agreement of no Heathrow expansion until 2015. But he said MPs should not be “blind” to the need to expand airport capacity. A growing number of backbench Conservative MPs believe a bigger Heathrow is needed to boost Britain’s links to China and other emerging markets.
Carol Barbone, campaign director of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “Stansted is only operating at half its permitted capacity as it is. If the market was interested in using Stansted we would be seeing increasing passenger numbers rather than a month-on-month decline for the past five years. Boris is clutching at straws given the opposition to the Thames Estuary airport.”
A spokesman for airport operator BAA said: “Building a new runway at Stansted will not solve the UK’s hub airport capacity crisis. All a second runway at Stansted would achieve would be to increase the amount of spare capacity there.”
Comment from Stop Stansted Expansion:
As the frenzy in the aviation industry and parts of the media hots up, in anticipation of the government’s aviation consultation in July, there have been reports in the Evening Standard, Telegraph, Financial Times and Mail about Boris Johnson calling for a second runway to be built at Stansted as a stop gap solution until his ‘Boris Island’ airport can be built. These have led to some unusual agreement between Stop Stansted Expansion and BAA, with the latter remarking “All a 2nd runway at Stansted would achieve would be to increase the amount of spare capacity there.’
Not content with advocating one environmental disaster, Boris is now advocating two. And what Boris sees as a short-term fix for the aviation industry would be a permanent disaster environmentally. Stansted’s existing runway, which has been around for 70 years, is only operating at half its permitted capacity. If the market was interested in expanding at Stansted we would be seeing increasing passenger numbers rather than the month-on-month declines we have seen for the past five years. Boris is clutching at straws given the opposition to the Thames Estuary airport.