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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Davies: Ministers urged to reject ‘misguided’ Gatwick claims

The head of the Airports Commission has called on ministers to ignore “misguided” claims from Gatwick over issues such as noise pollution.

Howard Davies (pictured) has criticised Gatwick’s calculations as “over-simplistic and nonsense” and insisted that “limited weight should be places on the suggestion that air quality represents a significant obstacle to expansion”.

According to The Times Davies also attacked London mayor Boris Johnson, who has regularly spoken out against expansion at Heathrow, saying his analysis of air capacity was “flawed”.

The comments were made in letters to the Department for Transport and the London Assembly. Prime minister David Cameron has already promised a decision on which airport to choose for runway expansion by the end of the year.

Davies said it was “nonsense” that his commission has played down the noise impact an expanded Heathrow would have. Adding that up to 200,000 people could face less noise as a result of a third runway.

He was also insistent that the government was tackling pollution concerns at Heathrow too.

Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “I am sure many people will be surprised that Sir Howard maintains that ‘limited weight’ should be placed on the issue of air quality as an obstacle to airport expansion.

“It is currently at illegal levels at Heathrow and it is hard to see how millions more car journeys with a third runway will not make it even worse. Only Gatwick can guarantee that the country gets the economic benefits that it needs from aviation expansion.”

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It is the Airports Commission's thinking that is flawed - not Gatwick Airport or Mr Johnson.

Heathrow is already an abomination, having grown like Topsy from a small airfield surrounded by fields to the monstrosity that it is today and which is now surrounded by dense housing.

Mr Boris Johnson seems to be one of the few clear thinkers in the establishment who has campaigned for a new start - similar to the way Hong Kong dealt with its old airport.

We should start afresh in a location that can support both high speed rail and fast road links to it. The M25 clearly can't do that.

Keep up the pressure Mr Johnson and hopefully some clear thinking will come out of the muddle of Heathrow and the Airports Commission.

Robert Daykin's picture
Robert Daykin (not verified)

How does a location in to the East side of London offer the prospect of fast road options? Same for Gatwick, to the South - only options will be sticking to the M25, justbthat you'd then need to use more of it when travelling from the west or north.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Stewart Wingate should concentrate on making Gatwick a better neighbour to all of us suffering from the narrowed flight path in and out of the airport. Living over 20 miles away and having planes whining overhead between 2800ft and 4500ft each day and night is driving us all mad with lack of sleep. No consultation, total lack of consideration for filling our lives with noise and pollution. PLEASE no more runways at Gatwick - they are the neighbours from hell.

jacky jenkins's picture
jacky jenkins (not verified)

As someone who is developing a case for a new UK long haul airline

Alasdair Macgregor 's picture
Alasdair Macgregor (not verified)

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