In what can only be described as a bizarre decision the Airport Commision has today concluded that the best option for Airport Expansion in the UK is a 3rd Runway at London’s Heathrow.
The preferred option will see a new runway to the north of Heathrow airport wiping out the villages of Harmondsworth and Sipson and requiring a tunnel to be built for the M25 to pass under Heathrows extension. Compared to a 2nd runway at Gatwick which would require no such relocation and roadworkings this seems a far more expensive option. The report adds that a 3rd runway at Heathrow should have signifcant restrictions for noise and pollution.
It also serves to increase Heathrow’s stranglehold on being the main port of entry into the UK to the detrement of Gatwick and other regional airports who are vying for increased passenger numbers creating an effective monopoly at Heathrow. Heathrow’s expansion will also cost an estimated £4.2bn more than the proposal of a 2nd runway at Gatwick.
The UK Government has said it will make a decision based on the report by the end of 2015 however several high profile conservatives oppose the plans at Heathrow including Mayor of London Boris Johnson who backs a Thames Estuary airport, the most expensive and least viable of all the options. Tory PM David Cameron ruled out the Heathrow expansion in 2009 with “No if’s or buts” whilst Labour have stated that they prefer the Heathrow option.
The Commission’s report did however state that the proposed expansion at London Gatwick is deliverable and Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said that it was still very much in the running.