BORIS Johnson set out his plan to force the closure of Heathrow and create a four-runway hub airport to the east of London yesterday.
The Mayor of London said a new residential project on the current site of Europe’s busiest airport, which he dubbed “the Royal Borough of Heathrow”, would have space for 80,000 homes and create more than 43,000 jobs to replace those lost to a new hub.
He criticised politicians who have been “sitting around like puddings for the last 40 years” instead of building new runways like other airports in Europe.
Ahead of his formal submission to the government’s airports commission, Johnson yesterday picked out three possible sites, including a revamped Stansted, that could cater for the expected long-term growth in demand for air travel.
Johnson distanced himself from the mooted Outer Estuary option, which has become known as Boris Island, though it remains one of his three preferred sites.
He told reporters at City Hall yesterday that he has “slightly deprecated this in the last few days because it’s further out – but it has many amazing attractions, not least its capacity for expansion, and its impacts are minimal”.
The Mayor also sees the Isle of Grain in Kent as a strong contender for the new airport as it “best combines regeneration with connectivity”. Kent Council has opposed the plan.
Johnson dismissed the idea of expanding Heathrow, even in the short-term, claiming that a new runway at the west London site would take as long to build as an entire airport.
His forecasts have the new hub opening by 2029, costing around £50bn and funded by both public and private cash.