Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s MP for Brighton Pavilion, has labelled the Davies Commission’s findings as ‘deeply disappointing’. Lucas is calling for an end to airport expansion and for the Government to look at proposals to change the taxation around aviation to discourage ‘frequent flyers’ while cutting taxes for those who fly less frequently.
The plan, backed by the Campaign for Better Transport, the New Economics Foundation, the Tax Justice Network, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth among others, would see air passenger duty scrapped and replaced by a new frequent flyers levy. Everyone would be able to take one flight a year without paying any levy, but for subsequent journeys the levy would rise each time.
Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “We are pleased today’s announcement by the Airports Commission vindicates our lengthy campaign to stop an airport being built on the Isle of Grain.
“The pie-in-the-sky plans for the so-called Boris Island Airport were a distraction we could have done without as we got on with our day-to-day business.
“We fought hard to block the proposal and will do the same if, as some reports suggest, the prospect of an airport in the Thames Estuary in Medway is ever raised again.”
The report says the Government should rule out a fourth runway at Heathrow and calls on it to make a decision as soon as possible.
It calls for:
A ban on night flights between 1130pm and 0600.
No fourth runway.
A legally binding limit on noise.
A legal commitment on air quality that EU limits are met.
It says Heathrow has the strongest case and offers the strongest economic benefits.
The Airports Commission has that recommended a new runway for the region should be built at Heathrow and not Gatwick. It says the Government should take also take "firm action" to rule out further expansion at the airport.
It also wants a ban on night flights, a highly controversial issue in the Thames Valley.
Sir Howard Davies who has spent two years looking at plans to expand Heathrow, Gatwick and for a new airport in the Thames Estuary says Heathrow is best.
In a 242 page report he says Gatwick put up a "credible option" but Heathrow is best placed. It will create 70,000 jobs by 2050.
Of Gatwick the report says:
"The scheme is feasible but the additional capacity would be more focused on short-haul intra-European routes and the economic benefits would be considerably smaller."
The report says at Heathrow there would be a boost to the economy of £147 billion over 60 years and add 40 new destinations. Around 800 homes would be demolished.
The plan is for a new runway north of the airport near to the M4 which would run over the M25 in a tunnel. A scheme known as Heathrow Hub, to extend an existing runway is ruled out because it would bring less benefit.
The Airports Commission is expected to recommend that on an extra runway should be built at Heathrow.
The options considered were a third runway at Heathrow, extending an existing one, or building a second runway at Gatwick.
The cost of a new runway at Gatwick would be £7.8 billion. A total of 163 properties would be demolished. It would create 120,000 new jobs with an economic boost worth £100 billion. Up to 40,000 new homes would be needed. Flight numbers would rise from 254,000 to 514,000 a year by 2050 with two new flightpaths. Passengers numbers would rise from 40 million a year today to 95 million.
The cost of a runway at Heathrow would be £15.6 billion. Around 950 homes would be demolished. The runway would create 180,000 new jobs with an economic boost worth £211 billion. Up to 40,000 new homes would be needed. Flight numbers would rise from 480,000 to 740,000 a year with two new flightpaths. Existing passengers numbers, 72 million a year, would double to 150 million.
The cost of the Heathrow Hub option would be £13.52 billion. Two hundred properties would be demolished. It would create 163,000 new jobs with an economic boost worth £214 billion. Up to 40,000 new homes would be needed. Flight numbers would rise from 480,000 a year to 700,000. Passengers numbers would rise from 72 million to 142 million a year.
A video diary by a protester who lives near Gatwick Airport. The decision on whether a new runway will be built at Heathrow or Gatwick is to be announced today.
The long-awaited recommendation on whether Heathrow or Gatwick should get a new runway will be made today. We were given access to Gatwick for this video.
Crawley-based Virgin Atlantic is to lose around 500 support and managerial roles, which will be achieved through a combination of employees leaving, redeployment and redundancies.
Virgin say: "This programme will be handled in a way that provides the best possible support to all those that are impacted.These changes will take place over the next few months, with a target of completing the programme by the end of the year.
"Virgin Atlantic is aiming to reduce its non-fuel costs through focusing on driving efficiency and simplicity throughout all areas of the business whilst delivering an even better customer experience.
"This reduction will make the airline more competitive, ultimately ensuring it can continue to invest in the overall Virgin Atlantic experience, loved by its customers."
It's been a familiar sight at Heathrow for almost 50 years but it is now the end of the line for Terminal 1.
The building will now be re-developed as part of an £11bn upgrade of the airport.
To mark the occasion a party for staff and workers from years gone by.
Also on the guest list: our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse. He spoke to former worker Keith Hayward and the last passengers to use the building.