Mayor calls on PM to back Gatwick Airport and show London is open

10 August 2016

The Mayor of London has today called on the Prime Minister to show the world that #LondonIsOpen by making a swift decision on airport expansion in the South East.

 

Sadiq Khan has written to Theresa May to urge her to make the decision a top priority for the Government, and agree in favour of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

 

He outlined how backing Gatwick now would send a message to the world that London is open for business, providing the additional aviation capacity needed to keep the capital competing with other major global cities.

 

He said that a second runway at Gatwick was the right choice, as it would bring substantial economic benefits to London and the UK, but would not come with the significant environmental cost of expanding Heathrow.

 

Sadiq wrote: “London’s economy needs additional aviation capacity in order to stay competitive with other major global cities and an early decision from you would show to the world that we are open for business.

 

“Gatwick is the most viable option presented by the Airports Commission. A second runway at Gatwick will bring substantial economic benefits to London and the UK in terms of jobs, growth and investment, without the significant environmental cost to Londoners of expanding Heathrow.”

 

Sadiq said this was a vital decision for London and the UK, but highlighted how important it was for the Government to take into account the views of Londoners, who will suffer the environmental consequences of the expansion to air pollution hotspot Heathrow.

 

Tackling London’s poor air quality is a priority for the Mayor and he has just finished an initial consultation on a comprehensive package of measures to clean-up the capital’s filthy air. He is clear that aviation expansion must not be at a further cost to Londoners’ health and well-being.

Notes to editors

A Government decision on whether Gatwick Airport should be expanded is expected this year. Gatwick’s second runway will deliver the UK the same number of passengers, the same number of long haul routes, better UK and regional connections, and the economic boost the UK needs, all at a dramatically lower environmental impact, at less than half the cost of Heathrow, and with no public subsidy.

 

Last month, Sadiq visited Gatwick to hail the airport’s decision to boost its investment in the airport by an additional £200 million. This will be spent transforming, revitalising and improving the existing airport – and will bring the total investment over the coming five years to £1.2 billion.  The total invested in improving the airport since new ownership (2009) through to 2021 will be £2.5 billion.

 

The Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign, launched on 18th July, aims to show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome, and that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated.

 

The full text of the letter to the Prime Minister is:

 

A final decision on airport expansion in the South East is long overdue and I urge you to make this a top priority of your Government. London’s economy needs additional aviation capacity in order to stay competitive with other major global cities and an early decision from you would show to the world that we are open for business.

 

Gatwick is the most viable option presented by the Airports Commission. A second runway at Gatwick will bring substantial economic benefits to London and the UK in terms of jobs, growth and investment, without the significant environmental cost to Londoners of expanding Heathrow.

 

I was elected on a manifesto commitment to oppose Heathrow expansion and whilst aviation expansion in the South East is of national importance the views of Londoners, who overwhelmingly oppose Heathrow expansion and who suffer the environmental consequences of it, must be taken into account.

 

London’s poor air quality is responsible for the premature deaths of thousands of people each year which is why I announced an ambitious package of measures to tackle this pressing problem and make it one of my top priorities as Mayor. Heathrow is currently an air pollution hot spot and will be for years to come even without expansion, unless significant mitigating measures are put in place. Aviation expansion in the South East must not be at a further cost to Londoners’ health and well-being, and increased noise pollution is also a significant factor in my opposition to Heathrow expansion.

 

This is a vital decision for London and the UK and we must get it right. Therefore, I urge you to agree as swiftly as possible in favour of a second runway at Gatwick and rule out a third runway at Heathrow.