London’s airport wars get hotter as mayor supports second Stansted runway
There’s nothing like a good fight between a Prime Minister and a Mayor over airport development to highlight the difficulties of making genuinely smart decisions about transport development.
Source: Daily Telegraph
Author: David Millward
Boris Johnson has called for a second runway to be built at Stansted, widening the gulf between himself and David Cameron on aviation.
The Mayor of London rounded on the Prime Minister and the Coalition, which has refused to consider expanding Heathrow and has vetoed second runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
Having earlier pushed for the building of a new airport in the Thames Estuary, Mr Johnson called for a second runway at Stansted as a short-term fix. He also said that the £14.8 billion Crossrail scheme, which will link the City to Heathrow, should be extended to Stansted.
He said: “It is time that we looked at all the options around London because the Heathrow option is politically undeliverable and would be an environmental disaster. Increasingly, people are thinking about Stansted as an option. You could get there quickly if Crossrail was extended.”
Expanding Stansted would provide capacity quickly, ahead of an airport in the Thames Estuary, he added.
Mr Johnson has joined senior business and aviation figures in attacking the Government’s aviation strategy. The Coalition ruled out a third runway at Heathrow for the duration of the current Parliament. But it has called for representations on whether and how Britain should maintain hub status.
BAA, which owns Heathrow, has been told it can put its case for a third runway, despite the Coalition agreement precluding it.
Last year, the Government signalled it would consider new runways in the South East with the exception of Heathrow. Mr Cameron’s hint at a possible Heathrow about-turn was attacked by Mr Johnson, who accused him of “divide and rule” tactics. The Coalition is to unveil a “long-term draft strategy document” in the summer.
• The High Speed 2 rail line could eventually be seen as a “thing of beauty”, the Transport Secretary has claimed. Justine Greening compared the project to the “iconic” works of the great Victorian engineers, which were controversial at the time but are now regarded with affection and admiration.
She said that despite opposition from Conservative supporters, the £32 billion scheme was progressing “full steam ahead”.