Three airport expansion schemes shortlisted for London

A shortlist of options for expanding London’s airport capacity has been detailed, with additions to Heathrow and Gatwick featuring alongside the long-standing Thames Estuary plan, reports.

The Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, has shortlisted three plans which it claims are the most viable options for broadening London’s air travel capacity. These include the addition of second runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as the Thames Estuary ‘Boris Island’ proposal which has been in the pipeline for five years.

Other proposals that the commission discounted included the expansion of Stansted Airport in Essex or Birmingham Airport.

The report’s overall conclusion was that the South East needed at least one more runway to cope with increased demand by 2030. In addition, this demand is expected to rise further still, bringing with it the need for a second runway in 2050.

Whilst many favour the noise and economic benefits of the Boris Island airport, it was noted that airlines would not be forced to use the new facility, meaning that some may simply choose to move operations abroad instead of taking on the additional costs with which they may be lumbered.

It concluded by suggesting that air travel isn’t the only industry that needs investment, but that £200 million extra funding should also be ploughed in to Britain’s road and rail network.

Speaking at the report’s publication, Sir Howard told “Decisions on airport capacity are important national strategic choices and must be based upon the best evidence available.

“The commission has undertaken a fresh, comprehensive and transparent study of the issues. This report is the product of extensive consultation, independent analysis and careful consideration by the commissioners.”