Gatwick

This week the Airports Commission delivered its final report on expanding airport capacity.

The Commission had already ruled out the option to which many of us were attracted, the estuary airport or 'Boris Island'.  The Commission's chairman, Sir Howard Davies, said that the idea was "appealing in theory" but "unfeasibly expensive".

Stansted was also ruled out, so that left a second runway at Gatwick and two different options at Heathrow in the final.  But the final report is a huge blow to Gatwick's bid.

The report is an unequivocal recommendation for Heathrow, exposing that Gatwick would have less than half the economic benefit, insufficient transport connections especially to the north, and fail to provide the hub airport which Britain needs.

The rail service in West Sussex is already under strain.  Next week I will be leading a Commons debate on the poor performance of Southern and Network Rail.  How could it possibly cope with five times the number of passengers from Gatwick? 

I have also made clear my concern that a second runway at Gatwick would massively increase housing pressure in West Sussex when we already have an infrastructure deficit.

There's been talk that the Government might still opt for Gatwick because Heathrow faces political opposition.  That must not be allowed to happen.

The Government cannot ignore the clear advantages of Heathrow and must not now funk the decision.  Choosing a sub-optimal solution at Gatwick for political reasons would be inconsistent with the aims of delivering a long-term economic plan and taking decisions in the national interest.

Major cities around the world that have failed to develop a single hub airport have paid a big price, losing business, jobs and growth to competitors.  Britain cannot afford to make the same mistake.


Document type

Articles

Published

2 July 2015

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