The London Assembly’s Transport Committee today asked Londoners to send them their views and evidence as it launched an investigation into airport capacity. Entering the topical debate for and against changes to existing capacity, its work will identify issues that the Government's independent Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, should take into account when considering the options for airport expansion.
Boris Johnson has suggested London’s airports need additional capacity for economic reasons, citing that full capacity will be reached by 2030 if no changes are made. A call for additional airport capacity has been made by a range of business and aviation groups.
By contrast, aviation and environmental campaigning groups suggest there is no crisis, arguing existing capacity can be used more smartly and querying the estimated increase in demand for aviation travel in future, especially for business purposes.
Numerous ideas have been put forward since the Airport Commission commenced. The Assembly’s investigation will look into some of the options for London in detail. These include utilising existing airport capacity better, building a third runway at Heathrow, adding additional runways at Stansted or Gatwick, creating regional hubs and developing a Thames estuary airport. This summer, the Assembly clarified its continuing unanimous opposition to the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
The Assembly aims to collect evidence and views from aviation experts, business leaders, environmentalists and the general public to ensure all opinions are considered.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon AM, said:
“As the debate rages on about the best solution to London’s airport capacity needs, the Assembly’s new investigation aims to examine the existing capacity and use of London's airports as well as requirements, both in the short and long term.
“We will consider issues such as aviation demand, cost and transport links in order to assess the viability of the numerous options. By collecting evidence to feed into the Government’s Airports Commission, our investigation aims to give a clearer picture of the direction in which London’s aviation policy could go.”
The Committee will hold two public meetings with experts as part of its investigation on 15 January and 6 February 2013 and produce its findings by May 2013. It welcomes written submission until 28 February 2013. The final report will be submitted to the Airports Commission in May 2013.
Notes to Editors:
- The terms of reference for the investigation by the London Assembly’s Transport Committee into airport capacity are:
- To examine the arguments for and against changing existing airport capacity in London including analysing current capacity and current and future estimates of demand for air travel;
- To explore the different options for addressing airport capacity in the short, medium and long-term including the scope for more rational use of existing airport capacity; and
- To set out findings in a written submission to the Government’s independent airports commission by May 2013.
2. An independent commission led by Sir Howard Davies was announced by the Government in September 2012 to investigate maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation. The Airports Commission will produce an interim report by December 2013 with recommendations for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years. A final report is to be delivered by summer 2015 with recommendations for the best approach that to meet the UK’s international connectivity needs.
3. The Mayor’s ‘A New Airport for London – Part 1’, January 2011, Chapter 6
4. The Mayor’s ‘A New Airport for London – Part 1’, January 2011, p7
5. Airport Watch and WWF report, International Air Connectivity for Business’, 2011
6. The investigation will examine many of the options proposed for addressing the issue of airport capacity in London. This will include:
- More rational use of existing airport capacity
- Change flight patterns to increase flights
- Build a third runway at Heathrow
- Build a new runway at Gatwick
- Link RAF Northolt to Heathrow
- More runways at Stansted
- New airport in the Thames estuary
- Build a new hub airport elsewhere
- Expand the role of the UK’s regional airports
7. Assembly says no to revival of third runway at Heathrow, press release
9. More details about the Committee’s investigation into airport capacity in London.
10. Caroline Pidgeon AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.
11. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
For more details, please contact Sheena Craig in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4603/4283. For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.