We don’t need more runways, says Assembly

Marion Dakers
THE LONDON Assembly yesterday called on the capital’s airports to make better use of existing runways to try and delay or avoid expansion, particularly at Heathrow.

A report by the Assembly’s transport committee argues for better rail and road connections for Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, which had 12, 51 and 47 per cent spare runway capacity respectively last summer.

The committee said it is against any expansion at Heathrow, which is 99 per cent full.

The report also questions the government’s projections for air traffic, pointing out that demand fell in the economic downturn, and arguing that London’s airports might not be full in 2030 as the official forecasts suggest.

“The committee is absolutely right that we must make better use of existing airports in the short-term, including airports outside of the south east. But this is not a long-term solution,” said Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser at the Institute of Directors. “Britain’s only hub airport is already full and all of London’s airports are set to hit capacity over the next two decades.”

The Davies Commission, set up by the coalition to look at options for UK air capacity, is due to set out its preliminary findings later this year.