Airport Capacity (Supplementary) [6]

Session date: 
September 19, 2001
Question By: 
Richard Barnes
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


May I first welcome your comments, Mr Mayor, on the voles at Heathrow and the danger that they and other native species face across London - and, indeed, across the country - and your implied, if not expressed, support for hunting to eradicate wild mink, which no doubt the Greens and their compatriots have let loose. [Laughter.]

Darren Johnson: We completely oppose the release of mink from those farms, and our statements are on record.

Richard Barnes: Would you allow us to hunt them to get rid of them?

I am not surprised by your comment, Mr Mayor, about tax on air fuel, but, given the state of the air economy at the moment, I am surprised by your timing. Airport capacity is dictated by two things - first, the ability to handle passengers, and people's desire and willingness to fly. Terminal 5, I understand, is aimed at handling the passenger capacity. The other determinant of airport capacity is a runway. We have heard British Airways argue vociferously over the summer for a third runway at Heathrow. Can you express your own view, bearing in mind your planning responsibilities, on a third runway in London, and would you support those of us who oppose a third runway at Heathrow and would rather direct it elsewhere around the capital?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Airport Capacity (Supplementary) [6]

Answer for Airport Capacity (Supplementary) [6]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

My economic advice has been that the south-east generally needs one more runway. The question whether that should be at Heathrow or Stansted or Gatwick - perhaps some people are even now starting to reopen the issue of Maplin Sands - is a matter for debate. Before we all rush into this, we will need to see the change in air travel following the events in New York. During the Gulf War, virtually every American tourist cancelled their trip to Europe, and that was a major contributory factor in the recession of the early 1990s. The impact of what has happened may permanently change airport demand, or there might be a six-months lag and then people will get back to normal. Therefore, we do not have to take a decision on this before the end of next year, when we will have a clearer picture and attitude. At the moment, the last advice I had before the events in New York was that we need one more runway for the south-east.