Boris will fight plans for Heathrow mixed mode with “all powers available”
Boris Johnson has attacked the Government’s “half-baked” aviation policy as he warned that ministers are preparing to announce plans for 1,000 extra flights a week at Heathrow by their plans to allow mixed mode. He said mixed mode is “a noisy and smelly intellectual cul-de-sac”. It could allow up to 60,000 more flights per year. The Standard reports that risking a huge row with the Government, Boris says he will oppose plans for these increased flights with “all powers available” on grounds of air pollution and noise. The DfT has so far ruled out mixed mode at Heathrow but it is believed the scheme will now be re-visited in the Government’s forthcoming aviation white paper. A senior Tory source today said the Government is now willing to press ahead with plans for mixed mode operation as a “short-term” solution.
09 July 2012
Boris Johnson today attacked the Government’s “half-baked” aviation policy as he warned that ministers are preparing to announce plans for 1,000 extra flights a week at Heathrow.
In his strongest attack on Downing Street yet Mr Johnson called plans for so-called “mixed mode” operation at Heathrow “a noisy and smelly intellectual cul-de-sac”.
Mixed mode flights at the airport would allow both runways to be used all day for both take-offs and landings — meaning 60,000 more flights per year. Currently, one runway is used for take-offs and the other for landings to minimise disruption for local residents.
Risking a huge row with the Government, the Mayor said he will oppose plans for increased flights at the airport with “all powers available”.
Meanwhile an influential group of Conservative MPs today called for two new runways to be built at Heathrow, potentially destroying thousands of homes. The Free Enterprise Group, which includes a number of key allies of Chancellor George Osborne, has suggested building two runways to the west of Heathrow, destroying the village of Poyle.
The group, who include MP for Spelthorne Kwasi Kwarteng and Sajid Javid, one of the Chancellor’s ministerial aides, said two new runways could be built to west of Heathrow.
They have also suggested building the two new runways to the north and south of the airport. Residents would be offered compensation packages to leave their homes.
Mr Kwarteng said: “People would have to be compensated, but if that is done properly it could work. There is room around Heathrow. You can definitely have four runways.”
He said that two new Heathrow runways would be “the most practical, most cost-efficient and fastest solution” to solve Britain’s air capacity crisis.
Opponents said there will be “overwhelming opposition” to any new runways and described the plans as a “fantasy”.
The Department for Transport has so far ruled out mixed mode at Heathrow but it is believed the scheme will now be re-visited in the Government’s forthcoming aviation white paper.
A senior Tory source today said the Government is now willing to press ahead with plans for mixed mode operation as a “short-term” solution. There will be a “call for evidence” on other proposals for new runways at London’s existing airports or a new hub in the Thames Estuary, the source added, but no decision is expected before 2015.
Mr Johnson, who favours a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, said: “It is pretty clear that the Government is determined to break its word and try for so-called mixed mode at Heathrow. Of all the bad ideas for expanding aviation capacity, this is the worst.
“I will oppose this, using all powers available to the mayoralty. I will oppose it on air quality grounds and because it will mean more noise pollution. Above all I will oppose it because it is the wrong solution for London — a noisy and smelly intellectual cul-de-sac.”
He added: “It is time to drop these half-baked and damaging temporary solutions. Heathrow is already full, and it is in fundamentally the wrong place for further expansion.”
Of course, this is largely because Boris wants the estuary airport – not only that he has great concern for residents of West London.