Davies Commission (1)

Meeting: 
MQT on 2015-10-21
Session date: 
October 21, 2015
Reference: 
2015/3299
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

Given the extensive mitigating factors that the Davies Report calls for in order for Heathrow to be an acceptable option for expansion and the fact that the Chief Executive of Heathrow has made clear that Heathrow would not consider signing up to many of them, do you think it possible that the Government could approve Heathrow expansion and claim to be acting according to the Davies Commission's advice?

Answer

Answer for Davies Commission (1)

Answer for Davies Commission (1)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Airports Commission recommended Heathrow expansion subject to a series of conditions. We should be under no illusion as to the limited value of these conditions. These include: a quasi-night flights ban which actually leaves 33% more aircraft flying at night; claims of more predictable respite - yet the majority of local residents will get just half the respite offered to local communities today; noise insulation provision which gives support to just a third of homes exposed at 55dB Lden; a community engagement board and independent noise authority with little in the way of powers or purpose; and a restriction on using the infrastructure - subject to legal compliance on air quality that is yet to be demonstrated - that creates a level of risk no investor would accept and which would seriously undermine the business case. Certainly, these conditions do not alter the fundamental environmental and public health concerns that Heathrow expansion raises.

Many of these conditions are no more palatable to the airport and airlines, restricting their ability to operate. Notably the ban on flight movements before 6am will create difficulties for the key long haul flights currently scheduled to arrive in this period.

Notwithstanding the serious flaws in the conditions, the Commission makes clear that they are an integral part of their recommendation. Nonetheless, with or without these conditions, it is clear from the evidence presented that Heathrow expansion is - on both environmental and economic grounds - the wrong answer for London and the wrong answer for the UK.