Sir Howard Davies suggests payouts might be given to people under flightpaths
The Standard reports that Sir Howard Davies suggested, at the launch of the Airports Commission, that cash compensation could be paid to west London residents if a 3rd Heathrow runway is built. He would look at whether financial payments should be given to people under the flightpaths if Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted expansion took place. He said: “There are examples in other countries of different kinds of compensation arrangements which have been used, and that is certainly something we are going to look at.” and “I am conscious that allowing a lot of options to run does create the risk of planning blight … and I don’t want to alarm people who have no need to be alarmed.” He also said the 2013 interim report by the Commission will be much more significant than previously expected and narrow down the rival options to a shortlist of “realistic” schemes, ending the anxiety of people living near more marginal sites. The 2013 interim report will also make recommendations on immediate ways to boost capacity in the south east, possibly including mixed-mode operation at Heathrow or night flights.
Payouts ‘may be given to people under third runway flightpath’
2 November 2012
Cash compensation could be paid to west London residents if a third runway is built, the man leading the airports commission revealed today.
Sir Howard Davies said he would look at whether financial payments should be given to people under the flightpath if Heathrow expansion or rival schemes at Stansted or Gatwick get the go-ahead.
Launching the commission’s work, he responded to business anxiety about the delay in his report to 2015, pledging that it would contain extra detail — enabling the preferred scheme to be built more quickly.
In addition, he revealed that next year’s interim report will be much more significant than previously expected. It will narrow down the rival options to a shortlist of “realistic” schemes, ending the anxiety of people living near more marginal sites.
The interim report will also make recommendations on immediate ways to boost capacity at the existing runways in the South-East, possibly including mixed-mode operation at Heathrow or night flights.
But Mayor Boris Johnson condemned David Cameron for delaying decisions until 2015, calling it “toxic and disastrous” and a bitter blow to Londoners fearful of a third runway.
The Mayor said he would look at “all options” to speed up the decision, which appeared to hint at legal action against the Government. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced the commission’s membership, which will include Sir John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, plus two business leaders and two top academics.
Asked if compensation could be paid to Putney residents if a third runway was built, Sir Howard said: “There are examples in other countries of different kinds of compensation arrangements which have been used, and that is certainly something we are going to look at.” He said the final report in summer 2015 would be “a really expert piece of work” and would go further than previously expected by including detailed work to hasten the publication of a National Policy Statement soon afterwards, so the new government would “have a flying start”.
Sir Howard told the Standard he would aim to pare down the list of options to a “manageable” size next year. He said: “I am conscious that allowing a lot of options to run does create the risk of planning blight … and I don’t want to alarm people who have no need to be alarmed.”
Among the projects being promoted are expanding Heathrow with a third runway; building a 24-hour hub in the Thames estuary; Turning Stansted or Gatwick into a hub, and linking them to Heathrow via high speed rail; using Birmingham as a mini-hub when HS2 is built; shifting Heathrow to a new site west of London.
Sir Howard said there were between four and six rival estuary schemes, including “Boris Island”, and he would attempt to name one or more as a “frontrunner” that would go forward for a thorough evaluation in the final report in 2015.
But Mr Johnson said: “It is a bitter blow for millions of Londoners that the Government remains determined to progress with a timetable that is a recipe for chaos and confusion. I cannot fathom the logic behind delaying this crucial decision until 2015. It only guarantees three years of uncertainty for people living near Heathrow and is a cruel and unusual punishment for our business community who are united in their desire for a decision to be made.
“I cannot fathom the logic behind delaying this crucial decision until 2015. While this inertia continues we are losing business, losing jobs and losing time.”
Speaking on BBC radio, the Mayor said: “It’s going to be toxic and disastrous to go into the election of 2015 with Heathrow runway three still on the agenda, millions of Londoners in a state of great anxiety and uncertainty, about whether or not they’re going to suffer from severe noise pollution.”
A solution will emerge from the long grass
Sir Howard Davies
Londoners are full of strong opinions about their airports.
I have discovered that to my cost since the Government asked me to chair a commission on future capacity. People don’t love airports, but they appreciate the economic significance of good connectivity.
My commission is charged with finding a long-term solution to maintain the connectivity a leading global city needs to prosper, to be ready for the government elected in 2015. We know that won’t be easy. The debate on a third runway at Heathrow, a new airport in the Thames estuary, or expansion at London’s other airports, has polarised opinion in a way that makes decision-making difficult.
The good news is that the commission’s formation has stimulated creative thinking. A plan to move the centre of gravity of Heathrow westwards has been proposed, as has a fast rail link that will let us think of Heathrow and Gatwick as one hub.
The bad news is that we have come under “friendly fire”. The Mayor and Michael Heseltine have argued that in setting up a commission the Government has booted the issue into the long grass.
I understand the point, but I think we can push things forward more quickly than they expect. When we produce our recommendations, they will not simply be opinions. They will be grounded in fully articulated business cases, with environmental assessments to back them up. We will also produce the outline of a national policy statement which would be needed as the framework for any future planning applications.
So we will be working hard in our long grass, with the aim of allowing the new government to make a flying start in 2015.