Battle for airport expansion hots up for Heathrow
Heathrow has upped the pressure on main rival Gatwick in the battle for the go-ahead for expansion by announcing it will seek to exceed the conditions set out in the UK Airports Commission’s recommendations.
Last year, after a three year study that cost £20 million, the independent Airports Commission recommended expanding Heathrow by building a new runway. Now the airport's chief executive John Holland-Kaye has written to the prime minister with ambitious plans to balance the environmental impacts against the huge national and local economic gain that could come from a successful expansion.
Heathrow presented a new proposal for the Environment Agency to be given the role of an independent aviation air quality authority. This would allow a transparent overview to take place over the airport's plans to make sure expansion is only in accordance with air quality rules.
Holland-Kaye said: “Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed.”
He also pointed out that Heathrow is committed to working with airlines to deliver affordable options for both passengers and airlines while at the same time giving a fair deal to local communities.
Gatwick Airport is Heathrow's main rival in seeking the go-ahead for expansion and responded to Heathrow’s announcement by claiming it has the only expansion plan that can deliver for the UK.
The airport, which is situated to the south of London, says it will provide the same growth and other benefits without causing the negative noise impacts that trouble Heathrow. It also claims its own expansion would not break air quality limits and would come in at half the cost with no public subsidy.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport chief executive, said: “Heathrow has constantly failed the environmental tests and the public and politicians won’t be fooled by yet more warm words which have been heard for decades.
“Rather than circling around a failed solution that will never happen, we should get on with something that can actually happen - only Gatwick can deliver for the UK.”
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Date Created: 12 May 2016