GEORGE Osborne left the door open for a third runway at Heathrow yesterday, saying that the government should “examine all the options” for boosting capacity.
But he added in an interview with the BBC: “If building a new runway was simple, it would have been done over the last 20 years. It hasn’t.”
Foreign secretary William Hague cast doubt on the prospect of an aviation U-turn, however, telling Sky News “we said very specifically we would not be [building a third runway]” as part of the 2010 coalition agreement.
The government will this week open a call for evidence on the various options for expanding air traffic in the UK.
One such option, a new airport in the Thames Estuary, would take just two years longer than a new Heathrow runway to build, its proponents have claimed.
A report by law firm Bircham Dyson Bell for Foster + Partners, which has put forward designs for the new airport, has pencilled in a completion date of 2026.
And the Independent reported that an unnamed infrastructure company plans to pitch a new four-runway airport in west London.