Howard Davies’ Airports Commission has published its final report with a recommendation that a third runway be built at Heathrow
Davies’s report said a third runway at Heathrow would deliver the most economic growth to the country, adding £147 billion to the economy and providing 70,000 jobs by 2050.
Despite recommending the option for an additional runway at Heathrow, the report leaves the door open for expansion at Gatwick. The plans, drawn up by Farrells, were described as ‘credible’ but the economic benefits would be smaller and additional capacity would be more focused on short-haul intra-European routes.
A decision on the expansion will not be made for several months and is likely to face fierce opposition.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson had been backing a new four-runway airport in the Thames Gateway, however last year, the commission ruled out the Foster + Partners-designed estuary airport.
Johnson had said a third runway at Heathrow would never be built, even if backed by the commission.
But speaking to the BBC this morning, Davies said Johnson ‘had not come up with a plausible alternative to Heathrow’.
Environmental and residents’ groups had also opposed expansion at Heathrow.
But the planned new runway is sited further west than previous extension proposals in an attempt to reduce the number of people affected by the noise.
The report also recommended that the government make a firm commitment not to continue expansion at the West London airport with a fourth runway.
Commenting on the outcome of the Commission’s report, Davies said: ‘Heathrow is best-placed to provide the type of capacity which is most urgently required: long haul destinations to new markets. It provides the greatest benefits for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy.
‘Adding capacity at Heathrow also provides an opportunity to change the airport’s relationship with its local communities as some overseas airports have done. To make expansion possible the Commission recommends a comprehensive package of accompanying measures including a ban on night flights and a new noise levy to fund a far stronger and more generous set of compensation and mitigation schemes. And as there is no environmental or operational case for a fourth runway, the government should take action in Parliament to rule it out firmly and finally.’
The west London airport has proposed three options for a third runway either to the north, north west or south west of the existing terminal.
Cost £14 billion - £18 billion