Boris attacks “completely crackers” Heathrow expansion

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has attacked the three shortlisted plans for expanding the UK’s air traffic capabilities.

The shortlisted plans include two proposed expansions of Heathrow airport in southwest London, and the expansion of Gatwick airport in Sussex.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Johnson described the expansion of Heathrow as “completely crackers” and “wrong for the country”.

The mayor, who favours the construction of a completely new “hub” airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary said: “Why on earth entrench a huge planning error and expand Heathrow and consign future generations to misery when we could go for the right option?

“This is an argument, I believe, that will eventually be won by the iron logic of the case which is that you cannot continue to expand a 21st century hub right in the middle of the western suburbs of the greatest city on earth.

“As soon as you’ve completed a third runway, which wouldn’t be until 2030 at the very earliest, there will be insatiable demands for a fourth runway.”

The Airports Commission, headed by former Financial Services Authority chief executive Sir Howard Davies, hasn’t dispensed with the Thames Estuary option entirely however, and Johnson insisted that Davies’ concerns could be addressed.

“I don’t think it costs anything like as much as I think he has been saying,” Johnson added.  “We think that the transport infrastructure alone comes in at about £20 billion, then you have got the cost of the airport but that, we think, is relatively easily financed by international investment.”

A final report from the Airports Commission is due by summer 2015.

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