By chance or design, two reports released today advocate, respectively, the building of a new island airport and the expansion of Heathrow. The British Chamber of Commerce made the sure-to-be-unpopular boast that a third runway at Heathrow would pack an additional £30 billion into Britain's coffers over sixty years. In a sign of the bizarro world we now live in, shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said the Conservatives were against the report as it failed to factor in environmental costs. Conversely, a report commissioned by the Mayor said that an all-new floating airport in the Thames Estuary could be built within a decade at a cost of £40 billion, and would be "a piece of cake" engineering-wise, according to one ever-so-slightly flippant expert. While it would reduce the number of flights over the city centre, the location would also be some fifty miles east of central London, though a proposed link to Crossrail could mitigate the distance. One thing seems certain — despite the protests over Heathrow, and the general unpopularity of the Estuary plan, London is going to get more runways somewhere, whether we like it or not.
Last Updated 13 July 2009