Davies Commission (2)

MQT on 2015-10-21
Session date: 
October 21, 2015
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Putting aside your preference for a Thames Estuary Airport, do you agree that the Davies Commission has, by including so many conditions that Heathrow will not meet, effectively endorsed the expansion of Gatwick?


Answer for Davies Commission (2)

Answer for Davies Commission (2)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Even if the Airports Commission may fail to grasp the logic of its own findings in drawing its conclusions, the evidence it presents makes clear the economic and environmental folly of a third runway at Heathrow.

Its evidence demonstrates how expanding will do next to nothing for connectivity, with three fewer domestic connections compared to today and 12 additional long haul routes - fewer than the number of destinations we should be serving in China and India alone. The new connections that London and UK business is crying out for - to stimulate new trade, investment and inbound tourism - will simply not materialise.

Equally, the Commission shows how Heathrow will remain the worst airport for noise in Europe - and will still expose more people than its five main European rivals combined. It shows how the majority of local residents will get just half the respite offered to local communities today and that night flights will increase by 33%. And the Commission singularly fails to demonstrate that air quality limits can be met, with the likelihood that an expanded Heathrow jeopardises the compliance of London and the UK. The conditions proposed do little to ameliorate the environmental impacts and their consequences for public health.

Only a four-runway hub to the east of London, away from populated areas, can provide the connectivity that London and the UK need - while absolutely minimising the environmental impacts.

Gatwick's geography prevents it from being that four-runway hub and from solving the key connectivity challenge that the UK faces.  That is not to say that there might be other reasons for expanding Gatwick, if it can address its (lower) environmental impacts and the Airports Commission does highlight some of the benefits of its proposals. Any increase in capacity at Gatwick could only be taken forward if the severe capacity constraints that exist on the corridors serving the airport - notably the Brighton Main Line - are also addressed.