Image: Warren Rohner
"London's economic growth depends on a significant increase in airport capacity and that cannot be achieved with sticking plasters at Gatwick or Heathrow', says London Mayoral candidate and Conservative MEP for London, Syed Kamall.
Responding to the release of the Davies Commission report today, Dr Kamall said, "By recommending Heathrow expansion if there are 'new measures to ensure acceptable air quality around the airport' , the Airports Commission has chosen the worst of all possible worlds." "Heathrow expansion is undeliverable, but even if it were to happen it would only be a sticking plaster since further expansion would soon be necessary. This whole process has been a complete waste of time, money and energy." “We shouldn’t be planning for the next five years, we should be planning for the next 50."
Dr Kamall believes that the solution lies in building a new airport.
“No one has ever given me a good enough reason why the idea of a new airport was ruled out. There are a number of options that, with innovative thinking, could be developed without resorting to significant public funding. For a major project like this we should be looking at making it attractive to private investors to help to build both an airport and the transport and housing infrastructure that accompanies it. Even if it could not be completely privately-funded, Crossrail is a good example of how we can bring in private funding to help deliver public projects and there is no reason why that model cannot be developed to deliver a new airport.
"The world is building new airports to serve major cities. China alone intends to build another 40 airports by 2020. If London wants to remain a global city with direct links to new business and leisure destinations, we need to find a real solution that will cater for future demand for decades to come.
”If I am elected Mayor, I will work with potential investors and airlines to help to find a lasting solution to airport capacity challenges. We cannot go on applying sticking plasters to our existing airport infrastructure. We need visionary thinking to maintain London's place as a global trading hub."
(1) Notes: Transport for London’s own figures suggested that a new airport would have provided a massive increase in capacity. A 4-runway Thames Estuary airport could have served 176 long haul destinations; an expanded Heathrow could only serve 106 and an expanded Gatwick a mere 53 (Note 1). https://tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/gateway-to-our-future.pdf
(2) China's aviation boom drives airport building frenzyhttp://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/06/26/uk-china-aviation-idUKKBN0P60EY20150626