The former head of the Financial Services Authority and the CBI, Sir Howard Davies, will lead the review of south east air capacity, acording to reports.
The independent review, mooted during the accelerating row within coalition parties over possible expansion of Heathrow, will not report until 2015, however, according to the BBC. It will consider all options for expanding capacity, including ‘Boris Island’ – an airport in the Thames Estuary – and extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
The report’s schedule allows the Conservative Party to keep its pledge not to expand Heathrow in the lifetime of this parliament, but opens the door for a policy change thereafter.
While the commission will publish an interim report next year, the fact that no final recommendation is likely before 2015 will disappoint many in the business world, who argue that a solution to London’s international connectivity constraints is critical now, and that the delay will only give other european cities the chance to extend their lead in connections to, for example, China.