Airport Expansion Decision Delayed AGAIN By Government

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 29 months ago
Airport Expansion Decision Delayed AGAIN By Government
Photo by Rezaul.Haque from the Londonist Flickr pool

The government really doesn't want to make a decision about whether or not to expand Heathrow Airport, does it? The Airports Commission said, back in July, that a third runway at Heathrow was its recommended option and the government promised to respond by the end of the year. On Thursday, it kicked the decision into summer 2016 in order to do more research into environmental impacts.

The delay has been condemned by virtually everyone. Business leaders aren't happy: London First called it a "failure of political leadership" and the CBI said it was "deeply disappointing". Green MP Caroline Lucas said

The evidence against expansion at Heathrow is already clear cut — and delay is unacceptable when a rejection is what’s needed. Expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick would be bad news for local residents who will suffer enormously from increasing noise and air pollution.

Boris Johnson, who's been campaigning for an entirely new hub airport, called it a "fudgerama" on Channel 4 News, before fudging his own answer to a question of whether or not he'd serve in a cabinet that backed Heathrow expansion. (The answer's probably 'yes', then.)

A second runway at Gatwick is a possibility, albeit not one that's so far been considered likely. However, Gatwick supporters are seizing on what's seen as government flapping / concerns over air pollution levels that already breach legal limits (take your pick, depending where you stand on the argument) to push their side. Labour's candidate to succeed Johnson, Sadiq Khan, said

The government is kicking the decision into the long grass to avoid embarrassing their mayoral candidate. We can’t afford more dithering over aviation capacity. Businesses desperately need more airport capacity around London, and the Tories are letting them down. Gatwick stands ready to deliver it sooner, at a lower public expense and without the damaging impact of Heathrow expansion.

Embarrassing their mayoral candidate? Ah yes — this isn't an unreasonable accusation. Zac Goldsmith, standing for the Conservatives in May, is such a vehement opponent of Heathrow expansion that he says he'll resign as an MP if plans go forward. Any government decision will now happen after the mayoral election. There's no word from the Goldsmith camp on what would happen if the third runway goes ahead and he's mayor, but Goldsmith seems convinced he won't need to make that call:

I am absolutely delighted that, after much campaigning, the government has heard the arguments, seen sense and will judge the options against an environmental test. We know that any airport expansion must meet our legally binding carbon, noise and air quality limits. There can be no doubt that in a fair contest on air quality, Heathrow will not win. That is good news for London.

To delve deeper into the history of London's airports and airport expansion, we recommend this droll video.

Last Updated 11 December 2015

Continued below.


This is not the Government's fault. Look at how how past airport expansion have been handled. The aviation industry puts relentless pressure on the Government though intense non-stop lobbying.

London already have an air quality issue as well as a noise issue.

People seeking tranquillly in the City, may head off to Kensington Gardens and all you can hear is the constant whining drone of Heathrow jets arriving into London every 90 seconds.

To compound matter, people who were previously not effected by Heathrow jets are suddenly finding themselves London City Airport or Heathrow flight path (and often both). the reason for this is London City Aiport has expanded by 400% in 25 years. So Heathrow flight paths have had to shift to accommodate them.

The airports keep putting the case, they are good for the economy and jobs, but after 25 years of expansion at London City Airport, the Borough of Newham is one of the most deprived Borough in the country. In fact, the street has been in decline, with over 15 pounds shops moving into East Ham. Yet the local MP Stephen Timms and Newham Council think it is a good idea to keep blighting the area and turning into a noise ghetto. But noise impacts not locally around airports, but people who may live up to 30 miles are as they are under the flight path.

The Hub airport is only vital to Heathrow airport, as more planes mean more landing fees, but the people who are overflown have to pay the price for those profits. It is unclear how a man flying from Honduras to Frankfurt via a Heathrow to change planes benefit the UK?.

Heathow and most other airports have been lazy. They have know the limitation of the site for decades. Instead of getting Boeng and Airbus to deliver SILENT PLANES to meet their future needs. They have done nothing. Heathow waste money on advertising, lobbying and PR. That is not a solution for residents. When you hear them speak, they show their ingratitude. Instead force peopel to put with more noise.

If someone phone rangs every 90 seconds, would that be a reasonable way to live? Yet this is how the aviation industry expects people to live.

We need to wake up. It took humanity a long time to recognise slavery was wrong and forcing people to put up with aircraft noise is just as wrong. The aviation industry need to get ethical!

Sean O'Brien

Oh great. Another year of those god awful Gatwick Obviously adverts.