The Mayor of London has asked the Davies Commission to take the “bigger picture and longer view ” into account, as he submits his proposals for a new hub airport on the Isle of Grain.
The Mayor said that a national decision on airport policy was “not just about where to lay the tarmac for another runway, but presented a chance to reshape the national economy to meet the challenges of projected population growth”, particularly in London.
The Mayor says airport policy has a huge impact on the entire fabric of society and that the decision on national aviation policy must be closely linked to the rate of population growth in London. With London forecast to grow to 10million people by 2030 and to 11.3million people by 2050, he says major infrastructure decisions like airport expansion have to contribute towards meeting the need for homes and jobs posed by that growth. Were a decision made to build a new airport then redevelopment of the Heathrow site could provide 90,000 jobs and 80,000 homes, adding £7.5 billion a year to the UK economy.
As well as the opportunity to house 200,000 future Londoners, Boris thinks that not building a new hub would miss a chance to “end the blinkered and ‘make-do’ philosophy that had led to decades of haphazard expansion”.
The plans for the new Isle of Grain airport would support 388,000 jobs UK wide, says the submission, with the benefits from the extra global connectivity alone worth nearly £7bn a year. The Mayor says this is greater and wider-reaching than new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.
The Mayor’s submission coincides with the publication of a study by Medway And Kent County Council that suggests five out of six Britons would oppose the construction of an estuary airport.
Boris’ submission also suggests landing charges would be significantly less than has been suggested would be necessary to recoup the cost of construction of the airport and surrounding infrastructure, although they would still be higher than is presently charged at Heathrow.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Airports Commission has been asked to consider a subject that is of vital importance to our country’s prosperity and place in the world. It is not a small matter and their work will have ramifications for decades to come. That is why it is crucial their considerations take into account the future requirements of this country in 40 or even 50 years time. We must ensure that the final outcome is not one that future generations will regret.”