Airports Commission under Sir Howard Davies. Membership and terms of reference announced.

The government has today announced the full membership and terms of reference of the Airports Commission, to be chaired by Sir Howard Davies, and to “identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining the UK’s status as a global aviation hub.” The government says it has identified individuals with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience to sit on the committee. The Commission also intends to appoint a panel of expert advisors. Members are: Sir John Armitt, former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority; Professor Ricky Burdett (LSE); Vivienne Cox (was at BP Alternative Energy); Professor Dame Julia King (a member of the CCC); Geoff Muirhead CBE (former CEO of Manchester Airports Group). The terms of reference are that “The Commission will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.”  And it “should engage openly with interested parties and members of the public,”  etc


Details about each of the Committee members below

Membership and terms of reference of the Airports Commission

Statement by Transport  Minister, Patrick McLoughlin


On 7 September, the Government announced its intention to create an independent commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining the UK’s status as a global aviation hub. Following discussions with Sir Howard, the Government is now in a position to announce the full membership and terms of reference for this body, which will be named the Airports Commission.

In selecting members of the Airports Commission, the Government worked with Sir Howard to identify individuals with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience. The Commission also intends to appoint a panel of expert advisors, to enhance its capability to address issues that fall outside of the direct experience of the Commissioners.

In addition to Sir Howard Davies, the full membership of the Commission includes:

  • Sir John Armitt, the former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former Chief Executive of Network Rail
  • Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and director of the LSE Cities research centre
  • Vivienne Cox, the former CEO and Executive Vice President of BP Alternative Energy and a former member of the BP Executive Management Team
  • Professor Dame Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University and a member of the Committee on Climate Change, with a background in the aerospace industry
  • Geoff Muirhead CBE, the former CEO of the Manchester Airport Group

The Commission’s terms of reference will be as follows:

The Commission will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.

It should maintain a UK-wide perspective, taking appropriate account of the national, regional and local implications of any proposals.

It should engage openly with interested parties and members of the public, providing opportunities to submit evidence and proposals and to set out views relevant to its work.

It should seek to engage with a range of stakeholders, including with local and devolved government as well as the Opposition, to build consensus in support of its approach and recommendations.

The Commission should report no later than the end of 2013 on:

  • its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK’s global hub status; and
  • its recommendation(s) for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years – consistent with credible long term options.
    The assessments and recommendations in the Commission’s interim report should be underpinned by a detailed review of the evidence in relation to the current position in the UK with regard to aviation demand and connectivity, forecasts for how these are likely to develop, and the expected future pattern of the UK’s requirements for international and domestic connectivity.

Its assessments of potential immediate actions should take into account their economic, social and environmental costs and benefits, and their operational deliverability. It should also be informed by an initial high-level assessment of the credible long-term options which merit further detailed development.

The Commission should report no later than summer 2015 on:

  • its assessment of the options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact;
  • its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs; and
  • its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale

The Commission should base the recommendations in its final report on a detailed consideration of the case for each of the credible options. This should include the development or examination of detailed business cases and environmental assessments for each option, as well as consideration of their operational, commercial and technical viability.

As part of its final report in summer 2015, it should also provide materials, based on this detailed analysis, which will support the Government in preparing a National Policy Statement to accelerate the resolution of any future planning applications for major airports infrastructure.


Members of the Commission:

Sir Howard Davies

Wikipedia says:  Sir Howard John Davies (born 1951) is a professor of practice at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, where he teaches courses in the regulation of financial markets and in central banking in the Paris School of International Affairs. He was appointed Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2000.

He went to the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Merton College, Oxford (modern history and modern languages). In 1979 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business from where he obtained an MS degree in management sciences.

Davies was executive chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) from 1997 to 2003. He was the first chairman of the FSA. He was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England from 1995 to 1997, when the incoming Labour Government asked him to create the new regulator.

In October 2003, Davies left the FSA to become Director of the London School of Economics. He tendered his resignation in March 2011 in the wake of publicity over donations made to the college by a son of Muammar Gaddafi. He stayed on till a replacement was found, in May 2011.

Davies was previously employed by McKinsey and Company and was Special Advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  He was also previously employed at the Treasury and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which included a posting of Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to France. Davies served for 3 years as Director General of the Confederation of British Industry.

From 1985 to 1986 he was Special Advisor to Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson [a renowned climate sceptic]. From 1987 to 1992 he was Controller of the Audit Commission. He was also a non-executive director of GKN between 1989–95, and a member of the International Advisory Board of NatWest Bank from 1991-95.  In 2004 he became a non-executive Director of Morgan Stanley.   Davies is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.   And other appointments ….




Professor Dame Julia King

Dame Julia Elizabeth King, DBE, FREng  is a distinguished member of the CCC

She is one of the most senior female engineers in the UK and lead the King review on decarbonising road transport  in 2007 – 2008.

The King review of the decarbonisation of road transport ..Professor King was commissioned by the Treasury to lead the King Review, to examine the vehicle and fuel technologies which over the next 25 years could help to decarbonise road transport, particularly cars.

Professor Julia King is also a member of the Birmingham City Council Green Commission

Wikipedia says of her:

Dame Julia Elizabeth King, DBE, FREng (born 11 July 1954) has been the Vice-Chancellor of Aston University since 2006. She graduated from the University of Cambridge (New Hall) with a degree in natural sciences in 1972.Her PhD degree, also from Cambridge in 1978, was in fracture mechanics.

King continued at Cambridge as a Rolls-Royce research fellow for 2 years before taking a post as a lecturer at the University of Nottingham from 1980 to 1987. She then returned to Cambridge, holding a series of research and teaching positions from 1987 to 1994.In 1994 she moved to Rolls Royce where she held a number of senior positions. She was appointed chief executive of the Institute of Physics in September 2002. From September 2004 to December 2006 she was Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College London, after which she joined Aston University as Vice-Chancellor.

She has held a number of senior public appointments and works closely with Government as a member of the Ministerial Group on Manufacturing, the Committee on Climate Change, and the National Security Forum, and spent four years advising the Ministry of Defence as Chair of the Defence Science Advisory Council, and five years as a non-executive member of the Technology Strategy Board.

She is a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Transportation.

She was a Board member of the Engineering and Technology Board (now Engineering UK) from 2004 to 2008. She led a Royal Academy of Engineering Working Party on “Educating Engineers for the 21st Century” which published its final report in June 2007.

King was appointed by Gordon Brown the then Chancellor of the Exchequer in March 2007 to lead the King Review to examine the vehicle and fuel technologies that, over the next 25 years, could help to reduce carbon emissions from road transport. The interim analytical report was published in October 2007, and the final recommendations in March 2008.

She has published over 160 papers on fatigue and fracture in structural materials and developments in aerospace and marine propulsion technology, and has been awarded the Grunfeld, Bengough and Kelvin medals for her research

In 1997 she was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to materials engineering in the 1999 Birthday Honours. She is a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths Company, an Honorary Graduate of Queen Mary, University of London, and an Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and of Cardiff University. In 2006 she presented the Higginson Lecture. On 5 May 2010, she discussed the challenges and opportunities that surround low-carbon transport when she delivered the Institution of Chemical Engineers 6th John Collier memorial lecture.

She is the UK government’s low carbon business ambassador.

She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to higher education and technology.

However, her interest in climate change is more from the point of view of how we can find technological fixes for it, rather than an interest in cutting emissions. She has spent much of her past industrial and academic career in the aviation business working and researching for Rolls Royce. She justifies this by saying it was all about reducing carbon emissions from aviation.

Her line is that  the aviation industry that they are committed to reducing emissions through clever new technology. This ignores the basic laws of physics that quite simply there is no way that a huge additional number of people can have access to personal mobility without increasing CO2 emissions further.

In a lectuer given to SCI (the Society of Chemical Industry) on 11.10.2012  – – she says,
“I am focussed on solutions. My talk was about the scale of the global challenge and the fact that transport is the second largest contributor to that challenge in terms of generating CO2 emissions. I have a very positive message: that this is a problem we can solve and do so whilst giving huge additional numbers of people access to personal mobility. And it’s that personal mobility that enables them to become stronger economic players, and, in many parts of the world, is vital to improving quality of life and the amount of money they can earn, and therefore key to economic and social development.”
This is counter to what James Hanson and NASA are reporting – they are now extremely negative. She appears to deliberately omit the point that transport emissions have been growing exponentially and continuing to grow rapidly.
[It would have been better to have a proper environmental member. That would have been someone like Prof Kevin Anderson of the Tyndale Centre. They would have argued that aviation must adapt to contraction in future. However, that is not something this Commission is likely to conclude]. 




Vivienne Cox

(From the Climate Group’s website):

Vivienne Cox is Chairman of Climate Change Capital and a non-executive Director of Rio Tinto plc and Vallourec SA. She is also on the board of INSEAD and an adjunct Professor at Imperial College. She is on the Advisory Board of Mainstream Renewable Power and a non-executive director for the charity The Climate Group.

In 2009 she retired from BP after spending 28 years in the company. Her last full time role was as the Executive Vice President of the Gas, Power and Renewables business. She was a member of the Executive Committee.

In 2005 Vivienne led the creation of BP Alternative Energy with the aim of becoming a major low carbon power producer and wholesaler by 2015.

A graduate of Oxford and INSEAD, in 2006 she was awarded the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hull in 2009. She is married with two young daughters.

The Climate Group said it is”an independent, not-for-profit organization working to inspire and catalyze leadership for a Clean Revolution: a low carbon future that is smarter, better and more prosperous. For all.”

The say climate change is “an opportunity for a Clean Revolution that will create a low carbon world, and a more prosperous life for all.”


Some comments about here in a Huffington Post article  23.6.2011:

Today, Cox is the Chairman of Climate Change Capital, a green investment and management firm with interests in everything from carbon finance and real estate to cleantech and energy infrastructure. “Climate Change Capital has a strapline [tagline], which is ‘wealth worth having’ and the whole premise that this company was set up on was that there was good business to be done in trying to solve the problems of climate change,” she says. “And indeed, unless there was good business to be done in solving the problem of climate change, then climate change wouldn’t be solved.”

“Climate change is real. We are still not taking it seriously enough, and there are real things that can be done to make a difference. It’s as much a behavioral and a communications challenge as it is a technical or business one.”



 Sir John Armitt

Sir John was chief executive of Costain between 1997 and 2001, and of Network Rail between 2002 and 2007.  In August, he called for “vision and guts” in aviation policy,challenging the government to stop deliberating and make a decision on its options for capacity expansion in the South-east.  He is also currently deputy chairman of Berkeley Group and a non-executive director of Transport for London.

Sir John Armitt CBE FREng FICE, was appointed Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority on 1 September 2007.

Sir John was previously Chief Executive of Network Rail from October 2002 and Chief Executive of Railtrack plc from December 2001. He has extensive experience in the building, civil engineering and industrial construction markets.

From1986 to1993 he was Chairman of the Laing International and Civil Engineering Divisions, a company he joined as a graduate in 1966.

From 1993 to 1997 he was Chief Executive of Union Railways, the company responsible for development of the high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link. In 1997 he was
appointed as Chief Executive of Costain, a position he held until 2001.

Sir John is also a Non-Executive Director of the Berkeley Group and an Advisory Board member of PWC and Siemens. He was awarded the CBE in 1996 for his contribution to the rail industry.

He was formerly Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Sir John received a Knighthood in the New Year Honours List 2012 for his services to engineering and construction.




Professor Ricky Burdett

Ricky Burdett - photo

Director, LSE Cities, London School of Economics and Political Science

Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science
Global Distinguished Professor, New York University

r.burdett [AT]

Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age programme.

His research interests focus on the interactions between the physical and social worlds in the contemporary city and how urbanisation affects social and environmental sustainability.

He is a Global Distinguished Professor at New York University, a member of Council of the Royal College of Art in London and of the Quality Review Panel for the London Legacy Development Corporation.

Burdett has been involved in regeneration projects across Europe and was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006.

He was a member of the Urban Task Force which produced a major report for the UK government on the future of English cities in 1999 entitled ‘Towards an Urban Renaissance’.

In addition to leading interdisciplinary research and teaching activities, he is a regular contributor to journals, books and media programmes on contemporary architecture and urbanism.

He is co-editor of two books based on the Urban Age research project: The Endless City (2007) and Living in the Endless City (2011).

In November 2012 Professor Burdett was invited to serve as a member of the Independent Airports Commission for the UK Government.

He does not appear to have ever written anything on the subject of aviation or airports.



Geoff Muirhead

Geoff Muirhead

Manchester Airports Group chief executive Geoff Muirhead (aged 60) stepped down in  2009 after 22 years with the company, it was announced today.  He spent a total of 22 years with MAG, joining in 1988 as business development director. Mr Muirhead was promoted to CEO in 1992 and took on the role of CEO in 2001 when the group was formed.

During his time as chief executive he has overseen the construction of Manchester Airport’s Terminal Two and the 2nd runway, and the acquisitions of airports in Bournemouth, Humberside and East Midlands which have made MAG the 2nd biggest airports operator in the UK.

Mr Muirhead’s remuneration package in 2008 totalled £512,000 including a bonus for the group’s strong performance in 2007-8. He is the son of a butcher from the north east, left school at 16 with one o-level and began his working life as an apprentice draughtsman at British Steel Corporation. He was awarded a CBE in 2004 and was the CBI’s business executive of the year in 2001.  Link

He was awarded the CBE in the Queens New Year’s honours list in 2004, adding to his significant other personal achievements, which include honorary doctorates from Manchester Metropolitan University, Teesside University and the University of Salford and a former CBE Business Executive of the Year.

Additionally, Geoff holds fellowships with the Institute of Civil Engineers, Chartered Institute of Transport, Royal Society of Arts and Royal Aeronautical Society.

Geoff is also Deputy Chairman of the North West Business Leadership Team and Non-Executive Chairman of Ask Developments.  Link

He is Chairman of the Northern Economic Futures Commission which was established in July 2011 and is made up of business, academic and public sector figures,

In April 2012  link  “Geoff Muirhead, chairman of the Northern Economic Futures Commission, said: “The North-South divide has existed for too long and it’s having a negative effect on the national economy which is desperate for growth. Our Commission is convinced that we can unlock potential for vital growth in the North of England if government creates a more level playing field.   “So-called ‘spatially blind’ policy-making has simply favoured short-term returns in London and the South East. The North doesn’t need more hand-outs but a long-term economic strategy which recognises the differences between places and the need for more local approaches to skills, innovation and infrastructure.” ”

Geoff Muirhead is the new chair of the Atlantic Gateway board. In addition to his chairmanship of Atlantic Gateway, Geoff is also a member of the North West Regional Leaders Board, chair of the IPPR Commission reviewing the future economic prospects for the north of England, non-executive chairman of Ask Developments and a governor at Manchester Metropolitan University.  link   Peel Group.


Article about him from 2004 at

“We should provide a much better service so that people don’t have to
go to the south-east,” he says. “There’s enough in the south-east
anyway. My task is to stop people from here going down there. That
must be right in every respect – economically, and environmentally –
musn’t it?” His big bugbear is the concentration of wealth and power
in the south. Briefly the smile fades. “To say there isn’t a north-
south divide is to ignore reality,” he says. “There is an imbalance in
the economy which is dangerous. If we continue the way we are, we
should just all give up and live down there. That would be horrendous.
The country could not sustain that.

“Something has got to give. This preoccupation with only the south-
east as a motor is not a model that works elsewhere, even in France,
which is more centralised than we are but where there is major
activity outside Paris. And look at Germany and its prosperous
regions. The UK needs more prosperous regions and cities and policy
needs to be very much changed to recognise that.”






UK airport expansion: Sir Howard Davies to set out plans for commission

1.11.2012 (Guardian)

Former Financial Services Authority boss is tasked with making recommendations on airport expansion, reporting in 2015

The man charged with pointing the way forward for UK airport expansion will set out his work plans on Friday.

The former Financial Services Authority boss Sir Howard Davies will explain how his Whitehall-appointed commission intends to operate.

Aviation policy has become a political hot potato for the coalition government and few will envy Davies in his task of making recommendations on future expansion.

Airlines and airport operators are pushing for more capacity, particularly in the south-east. But unanimity about just how to achieve this is in short supply, with some such as the London mayor, Boris Johnson, backing a new Thames estuary airport and others wanting expansion at Heathrowor at one of the other major airports.

Davies’s task is to bring out an interim report by the end of 2013 and then a full report in summer 2015 – after the next general election.

Johnson, among others, has been critical of the timescale imposed on Davies saying that the government is moving far too slowly, with the “continued inertia being fully exploited by our European rivals”.

The former Tory cabinet minister Lord Heseltine has also been critical of the government, saying this week that he would like to see more progress on airports and other big infrastructure problems.

Some have viewed the Conservatives’ approach to aviation with a degree of cynicism, arguing that the Tories are, deep down, keen to reverse their earlier decision and give the go-ahead to a third runway.

However, such an expansion at the airport is fraught with political sensitivity, with widespread opposition in west London and the Liberal Democrats firmly against it. Opposing Labour plans to expand the airport were a key plank in Cameron’s modernisation agenda and meant to send out a signal that the Conservatives took environmental concerns seriously. Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park and a former green adviser to Cameron, has said he would not stand again if Cameron reversed his opposition to a third runway. He has described a U-turn on the issue as an “off-the-scale betrayal“.

There has been talk of the Davies commission, and its timetable, being an attempt to “kick the matter into the long grass” until after the 2015 election.

Significantly, Davies was appointed in September after Patrick McLoughlin took over as transport secretary from Justine Greening.

Greening, who represents Putney in south-west London, was firmly opposed to a third runway at Heathrow and her move to international development in the government reshuffle was seen by some as allowing the Tories to at least consider Heathrow expansion more freely.




see also

Cautious welcome from HACAN for Airports Commission


John Stewart, Chair of HACAN and of AirportWatch, attended the launch meeting today of the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.  Sir Howard said the interim report (to be produced some time before the end of 2013 – date not known) will suggest short-term measures to assist capacity as well as outline the more “plausible options” to be taken forward in the longer term. The final paper (to be published by “summer 2015” which means after the election in May) will work up these options in some considerable detail.  He stressed, though, that the final decision will be down to the government of the day. In January  2013 the Commission will publish a paper assessing future demand for aviation.  That will be followed during 2013 by further papers including ones on climate change and the economic benefits of aviation. These will be put onto the Commission’s website, and be open for public comment. The Commission is not just to select airports where expansion should take place. 


[And see Stop Stansted Expansion comment below too].


HACAN has given the Airports Commission a cautious welcome.  Today Sir Howard Davies announced the remit and membership of the Commission which the Government has set up to look at the future airport capacity needs of the UK.  The Commission will produce an Interim Report at the end of next year and a final report in summer 2015, two months after the next General Election.

Davies told the launch meeting in London today that the interim report will suggest short-term measures to assist capacity as well as outline the more “plausible options” to be taken forward in the longer term.

The final paper will work up these options in some considerable detail.  He stressed, though, that the final decision will be down to the government of the day.

In January next year the Commission will publish a paper assessing future demand for aviation.  That will be followed by further papers including ones on climate change and the economic benefits of aviation.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “We are pleased and relieved that the Davies Commission will be looking at wider topics such as future demand, climate change and noise and not just selecting airports where expansion should take place.  This is a sensible approach.  The proof of the pudding will be in the eating but at this stage the Commission deserves a cautious welcome.”

(1). The remit and membership of the Commission is set out at


Below are John’s brief notes (purely his own first impression) from the launch meeting this morning:

Davies Commission Launch Summary

  • I came away from the launch much happier than I arrived
  • The commissioners don’t span a wide range as we would have liked
  • The external advisory group will be largely academics
  • The good thing is that Davies seems to want the commission’s findings to be evidence-based
  • It will produce a paper on its assessment of future demand by January 2013 – on which it will invite comments
  • There will be other papers on noise, climate change, economics etc
  • Everything will go up on its website as it is produced for comment (website to be active in about a fortnight)
  • At some stage they will also publish a paper on what they consider a hub to be
  • Interim report at end of 2013 will set out some short-term proposals but will also flag up “plausible” options that will be worked up in some detail for the final report
  • They will consider demand management measurements such as HS2
  • They will ensure that any expansion target is consistent with Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations
  • What is missing, I think, is the notion of using fiscal measures such as getting rid of tax-free fuel to manage demand (though he wasn’t asked about this)
  • They will look at the impact of APD but Davies didn’t seem to see this as a central part of their work
  • They will start taking formal evidence next year.  I can’t see a date mentioned but I think it might be April.




See also

From Stop Stansted Expansion


2.11.2012 (SSE)

Eight weeks after being appointed by the Government to head up the ‘Airports Commission’, Sir Howard Davies today [2 November 2012] announced the other members of his team and provided details of how the Commission intends to go about its work.

These announcements were made to an all-invitation gathering of representatives from the aviation industry, business, environmental groups and local community groups – including Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) Chairman, Peter Sanders, and Economics Adviser, Brian Ross.

The Airports Commission has been asked by the Government to examine the issue of UK airport capacity and to make recommendations and Sir Howard Davies made clear that his first task will be to look at the long term demand forecasts for air travel.  He said that he hoped to produce a paper on the demand forecasts by next January.

SSE welcomed this approach and, in discussions with SSE immediately after the meeting, Sir Howard Davies agreed that, if the demand forecasts indicated that no additional runways were needed, his Commission would have the much easier task of simply trying to make better use of the existing airport capacity.

SSE also welcomed Sir Howard Davies’ commitment to publish on the Commission’s website (which has not yet been set up) all the evidence it receives, as the inquiry goes along, and to allow other parties an opportunity to comment on it.

The Airports Commission is due to produce its interim report by the end of 2013 and its final report by the summer of 2015.


·      Today’s announcement by the Secretary of State, listing all the members of the Airports Commission and setting out its terms of reference and method of working can be found at

·      The Secretary of State’s announcement of 7 September 2012 appointing Sir Howard Davies to lead the Airports Commission can be found at





2 November 2012 (BBC)

Airport inquiry head Sir Howard Davies outlines aims

Many businesses have been calling for an expansion of Heathrow Airport

The head of a commission investigating airport capacity in the UK has said he aims to give the next government a “flying start” on the issue after the 2015 general election.

Sir Howard Davies, who acknowledged decision-making on the subject had been delayed, vowed to produce a “substantial piece of work”.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the process should be sped up.

The government has resisted pressure to build a third runway at Heathrow.

However, many businesses have been lobbying for expansion at the airport.

Mr Johnson, who opposes expanding Heathrow, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that expansion at the west London airport “simply will not happen”.

The mayor, who has advocated a new airport in the Thames Estuary, also said he felt the decision-making process was too slow and represented a “policy of utter inertia”.

“I think what is going on now is a good thing, it’s a productive process. I just think it could be speeded up, and there is absolutely no need to delay to 2015,” he said.

Mr Johnson added: “Can I tell you in the next nine years how many runways they are going to build in China? They are going to build 52. How many are we going to build in the UK? None at all.”

He said it would be “toxic and disastrous to go into the election of 2015 with Heathrow runway three still on the agenda”.

Speaking to the BBC earlier, Sir Howard addressed criticisms about the recommendations being delayed until 2015.

“Politics dictate that, for reasons we all understand, the coalition has said they are not going to make this decision before the election,” he said, explaining that his commission can do a lot of preparatory work.

That work would include considering a national airport policy statement, detailed business cases and environmental and noise assessments.

“We do have to do all of that and I think we can do that under the aegis of the commission, so that when the new government comes into office in 2015, when they make a decision, it will have a flying start,” he said.

‘Lacking consensus’

He said the full report, expected in 2015, would be a “really expert piece of work looking at how we think about airport capacity, which I hope will be internationally leading-edge”.

“In order to build enough political consensus around the eventual solution, we will need to show that we have done in-depth analysis of the other options. At the moment, consensus is what is lacking,” he said.

In the meantime, Sir Howard, a former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, said the commission would look at the options for increasing airport capacity within the existing framework and how to narrow down the range of possible approaches.

He said he planned to bring out an interim report by the end of next year in which the commission would have narrowed down the options.

Airport Commission members

  • Sir Howard Davies, former chairman of the Financial Services Authority
  • Sir John Armitt, former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former Chief Executive of Network Rail
  • Prof Ricky Burdett, former member of the BP Executive Management Team
  • Prof Dame Julia King, member of the Committee on Climate Change
  • Geoff Muirhead CBE, former CEO of the Manchester Airport Group

Along with a third Heathrow runway, the options include connecting Heathrow and Gatwick, a new airport in the Thames Estuary and the expansion of Stansted.

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has named the five other individuals who will sit on the commission chaired by Sir Howard.

They include Sir John Armitt, the former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and Geoff Muirhead CBE, former chief executive of the Manchester Airport Group.

Ministers say they are committed to maintaining what they call “the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub”.

While the coalition government has ruled out further expansion at Heathrow during the current parliament, many Conservative MPs want ministers to think again as part of a wider review of the future of UK airports.

According to the BBC’s political correspondent Chris Mason, the regular “mantra” from ministers is that 100% of their effort and attention is devoted to doing everything possible to revive the economy.

Liberalising the planning system and removing perceived barriers to growth are seen as key, he added.

Sir Howard was asked by the transport secretary in September to look into the issue of airport capacity .




See also


Under pressure: the man who must rule on next UK airport

Sir Howard Davies explains the task that is facing his inquiry

Guardian.   3.11.2012



David Cameron rebukes Boris Johnson for attacking airport expansion inquiry

Mayor of London lobbies for Thames estuary airport but prime minister says he won’t be given veto on third Heathrow runway

3.11.2012 (Guardian)

Sir Howard Davies suggests payouts might be given to people under flightpaths

Date added: November 3, 2012

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.

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Boris accuses government of “utter inertia” in not having the airports decision before 2015

Date added: November 3, 2012

Boris is accusing the Government of “utter inertia” on airport expansion policy . He says waiting till 2015 for the Commission’s report would be “toxic and disastrous” for the next election. The Government is facing growing pressure for major infrastructure projects to help shore up the floundering economy. With no particular evidence to back their claims, some business leaders say more airport capacity is crucial to boosting trade and routes to developing markets. Boris argues that as China is building lots of new airports, we should build one too. (No particular logic in that, as the case of China is utterly different to ours.) Boris says the Airports Commission needs to report more quickly, well before summer 2015. Sir Howard Davies has said his Commission is not to kick the tricky question “into the long grass” for political reasons, and that its report will be “a really expert piece of work” and “In order to build enough political consensus around the eventual solution, we will need to show that we have done in-depth analysis of the other options. At the moment, consensus is what is lacking.”

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