Mayor: 'Forget Heathrow — Build New Hub'

Wandsworth Council, UK Government has issued the following news release:

Boris Johnson has called on the Government to rule out Heathrow expansion permanently and bring forward its timetable for deciding where to increase aviation capacity.

Council leader Ravi Govindia has welcomed the Mayor's announcement which is in tune with Wandsworth's long standing campaign against Heathrow expansion.

In a speech at City Hall today (4 October) the Mayor said expanding Heathrow is unrealistic and that he believes the way to meet future demand for aviation capacity is a new four-runway hub airport.

He specifically ruled out mixed mode operations at Heathrow which would mean the end of runway alternation and the loss of the current half day's respite from noise.

Mr Johnson went on to say that the scale of the site required for a four-runway hub meant that Heathrow could be ruled out altogether.

He said the new hub could be opened by 2029, while a third Heathrow runway would be unlikely to be ready before 2028.

He explained that Heathrow's local road system could not cope with the extra traffic created by a third and forth runway and that air quality around the airport would dive further below EU minimum standards. He also said the noise impacts would be unbearable.

Heathrow is already responsible for more than a quarter of all those people affected by aircraft noise in Europe.

The Mayor said the timetable that the Government has set out for the Davies Commission on aviation expansion is too drawn out. It is not due to report back until the next Parliament, in 2015.

He warned that if a new hub airport is not delivered soon then the economy of London and the UK will stagnate.

He also confirmed that the Government has agreed to fund studies looking at the viability of three potential locations for a four-runway hub. These include Stansted and two options in the Thames Estuary.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "If the UK needs a hub airport then it can't be at Heathrow. The case against a third runway is far too strong and it would not provide enough extra capacity to meet the country's needs. Two years after opening the airport would be completely full again and a fourth runway would be the only way to keep the hub competitive. That would be an environmental catastrophe and blight the lives of millions of Londoners.

"We agreed that the Government should rule Heathrow out of the debate now and focus on the viable options. There is no reason to wait."

For more information see the Mayor's press release.

Wandsworth Council is a founding member of the 2M Group of councils opposed to Heathrow expansion. This all-party alliance includes more than 20 local authorities.

In 2010 the group led a successful High Court challenge against the previous Government's plan to add a third runway.

The group, which took its name from the 2 million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of 5 million people.

For more information please visit: http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/

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