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Airport expansion indecision a 'disgrace' says Roger Madelin

Heathrow's third runway by night
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British Land boss joins Foster + Partners’ Grant Brooker in criticising political impasse over whether to build another runway at Heathrow

The UK’s failure to boost Britiain’s airport capacity was slammed by two leading figures at a development summit yesterday.

Speaking at the CN Developer Forum in central London on Thursday, organised by AJ’s sister title Construction News, Roger Madelin of British Land called the indecision over airports ‘a disgrace upon all of us and our elected politicians’.

Madelin, a former chief executive of Argent who is now overseeing British Land’s regeneration of the 19ha Canada Water site, said: ‘Heathrow has gone from being the second most internationally flown airport in the world to the 18th. I don’t care whether the decision is Heathrow or Gatwick – just make a bloody decision.

‘It’s not good for the UK economy, indecision. Will Heathrow affect Canada Water? It will affect all of us in London.’

Fellow event speaker Grant Brooker, senior executive partner at Foster + Partners, also expressed deep frustration at the political impasse, and insisted Britain required a hub airport – a multi-runway airport that airlines use as a transfer point to get passengers to their final desination.

It’s terrible we haven’t even decided where expansion will be

Fosters is understood to have spent more than £1 million developing its proposal for a Thames Hub, a major new airport in the Thames estuary with associated flood defence and high-speed rail links.

However, this idea was sidelined by the government’s Davies commission on airport capacity in favour of expanding Heathrow with a third runway.


Grant Brooker, Fosters

Grant Brooker, Fosters

Grant Brooker, senior executive partner at Foster + Partners

‘We desperately need an international hub that works at the scale of other hubs,’ Brooker said.

‘We have an inherent geographical advantage … what we don’t have is the slot capacity we need. It’s terrible we haven’t even decided where [expansion] will be.’

Prime minister David Cameron is expected to make a decision on expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick within weeks, with both airports currently stepping up their efforts to make their case to politicians and the public.

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