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  1. Phil Hornby

The real political battle starts now

Any hopes that the Davies Report would resolve the airports issue once and for all were dashed within minutes of it being published.

Boris Johnson led the attack - saying an extra runway at Heathrow is undeliverable, will never happen, and is the sort of scheme you'd have got in 1950s Communist China.

Would-be Mayor of London Zac Goldsmith says Davies had made up his mind on Heathrow before the process began. Davies has accused him of "lying".

How much easier, politically, it would have been for the Government if Davies had agreed with those adverts saying it obviously had to be Gatwick. Some MPs in Sussex, Surrey and Kent would have been outraged, but Mr Cameron could have lived with that.

The political opposition to Heathrow will be on a dramatically different scale. It could lead to a Tory revolt at Westminster, at least one parliamentary by-election and it could dominate next year's Mayoral election in London: some people want to turn that into a referendum on Heathrow.

The history of big infrastructure projects in the country is one of almost endless delays and indecision. It looks like this one will be no different.


Windsor and Maidenhead 'disappointed' with Heathrow announcement

The Royal Borough of WIndsor and Maidenhead is disappointed with the decision by the Airports Commission to recommend Heathrow as its preferred choice for proposed expansion.

The council backs the expansion plans for Gatwick on economic grounds -also, it says, representing the least environmentally damaging option.

Councillor Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for Environmental Services, said: “I am extremely disappointed that the Airports Commission has backed proposals to expand Heathrow despite all the evidence that this is not the best option.

“Gatwick has presented a stronger case and we are extremely concerned about the negative impact expansion at Heathrow would have on our residents.

“We will now be calling upon the Government to go against the recommendations of the Airports Commission’s report and choose plans for expansion at Gatwick Airport.

“A final decision has not yet been made and we will continue to make the strongest case possible against the Heathrow expansion plans.”

ABTA welcomes Heathrow announcement

ABTA welcomes the Heathrow announcement Credit: ITV

ABTA welcomes today’s announcement by the Airports Commission that Heathrow Airport should be allowed to build a third runway. Increasing airport capacity is essential to the UK’s growth and global competitiveness; we are pleased that this recommendation has been arrived at through fair, transparent, and thorough processes and consultations.

Today’s announcement is the first step towards the delivery of urgently needed capacity at the UK’s hub airport and we now look forward to the Government’s response.

We call on Government to work across party boundaries and create a robust political consensus which will deliver this recommendation for UK businesses and passengers. ABTA will be working with the Government, as well as the opposition front benches to help build consensus.

– Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive

Airport decision is 'once in a generation opportunity', says Transport Secretary

Credit: ITV

My department has received the final report from the Airports Commission and will now consider that advice in detail.

As a nation we must be ambitious and forward looking. This is a once in a generation opportunity to answer a vital question.

I will make a statement to Parliament later today in which I will set out the process for that decision to be made.

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary


Heathrow is preferred choice for new runway

Heathrow has been chosen for the new runway Credit: ITV

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.

Three options for region's new runway

Heathrow or Gatwick for the new runway? Credit: ITV

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.

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