The Mayor of London has said in his final submission to the Airports Commission that expansion at Heathrow would bring greater economic benefit than at Gatwick, but criticises Heathrow options over impacts on housing.
The Mayor acknowlegdes that both the Heathrow options still on the table would give London and the UK greater economic benefit that expansion at Gatwick. He has been consistent in supporting a ‘hub airport’ model as crucial to UK Plc’s continued economic health, so this is no real surprise.
His concerns remain around noise, air quality and pressure on housing in West London. In his submission, the Mayor says “Heathrow northwest runway (Heathrow Airport’s submission) performs better than Gatwick in terms of economic benefit. But with London reaching ever increasing record levels of population it is also likely to significantly increase pressure for new housing development in west London, when the London Plan envisages a greater concentration on new housing to the east where there is much more land available to accommodate it. There is no indication in the consultation material of how that might be addressed. It would also add huge pressures to key local rail and road links and have a “significantly adverse” effect on air quality”.
The Heathrow Hub “Heathrow extended northern runway” option is similarly criticised by the Mayor. He also says “The Civil Aviation Authority’s preliminary safety assessment also suggests that approval of a plan that places two runways end to end cannot be guaranteed – and even if approved there is the possibility that there would need to be such significant constraints on the operation of those runways that it would limit their effectiveness.”
The Mayor also raises concerns about the Davies Review’s consultation. He said that with over 5,000 pages of highly technical material the consultation is not easily accessible, clear or easy to navigate, and criticised the Commission’s publishing of documents after the launch of the consultation.
In what could be a marker for a Judicial Review application, he said that he felt very little effort has been made to reach out to the public with the consultation.
The Mayor of London’s Chief Advisor on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “The decision on how to provide new aviation capacity affects millions of Londoners yet the Airports Commission level of engagement with them has been wholly inadequate if not downright careless of the effect it will have on them. The many weaknesses in their consultation process undermine the credibility of the whole consultation and could have repercussions for any recommendation they eventually make.”