The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed plans for a second runway at Stansted Airport in Essex as a short-term solution to air capacity problems in the South East of England. His long-term plan is for a new airport with four runways in the Thames Estuary: the so-called Boris Island. But he reckons Stansted could be a temporary fix to boost Britain's links to China and other emerging markets.
– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
If we build another runway at Stansted and put in a high-speed line that would be a fantastic step in the right direction.'
His comments about Stansted throw him into conflict with the Government, which has refused to consider any airport expansion until after the 2015 election. His ideas have also been dismissed by the airport itself. It says it is running well below capacity and does not see the need for another runway.
– BAA, Stansted
Our focus is to drive growth at Stansted on a single runway. We have already called on Government to make significant improvements to the rail links to the airport to help create jobs and growth and allow Stansted to win new passengers and airlines. In doing this, we can continue to support the international trading links upon which the UK’s future social and economic prosperity depends.
“The coalition Government, whilst not supporting a second runway at Stansted, has made clear its priority to develop a sustainable framework for UK aviation and is expected to begin consultation next month.”**
The saga of the second runway at Stansted has gone on for the past decade.
- 2003 - Labour produces a white paper proposing second runway
- 2008 - BAA puts in planning application
- 2010 - application withdrawn after Coalition government says it will not back the plan
Mr Johnson's suggestions have angered campaigners who have fought for years to stop the airport expanding.
– Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, Stop Stansted Expansion
Stansted is only operating at half its permitted capacity as it is. If the market was interested in using Stansted we would be seeing increasing passenger numbers rather than a month-on-month decline for the past five years. Boris is clutching at straws given the opposition to the Thames Estuary airport.'