Airport expansion

MQT on 2007-12-12
Session date: 
December 12, 2007
Question By: 
Damian Hockney
One London Party
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Given his opposition to a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow and his opposition to City Airport, is the Mayor confident that Londoners support his objective of restricting their ability to fly from London airports?


Answer for Airport expansion

Answer for Airport expansion

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I am confident that Londoners are increasingly concerned about the threat of climate change and want government at all levels to take action to reduce emissions. The impact of aviation on climate change is absolutely just about the worst because the impact at high altitude of greenhouse gases is much worse. We need to protect business travel, upon which London's economy depends, but half of all UK citizens do not fly at all from one year to the next. Most of those who do fly only take one return trip per year, but over half of all flights are taken by just 10% of the population. My view is that we should not expand air capacity, which would increase the risk of catastrophic climate change and damage the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Londoners who live under the Heathrow flight path; the only beneficiary would be the small minority of those who choose to fly more frequently, predominantly for short-haul leisure trips that could be accommodated on less carbon-intensive forms of transport, such as rail.

Perhaps I should just say that the last opinion poll that asked people whether or not they supported the expansion of airport capacity in London found that 43% supported it and 42% opposed it; just the sort of figure we all love.