While it is disappointing that the Commission’s first recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow reflects a backward looking view of aviation world, there is good reason for optimism. Gatwick remains on the table as a credible and commercially viable option.
With the door open for Gatwick we may finally be closer to a decision and I will be urging the Government to take the opportunity of a generation to choose Gatwick.
It is frustrating that Sir Howard’s main recommendation is destined to join the long list of reports left gathering dust on the shelves of Whitehall. Heathrow expansion is politically undeliverable and I am confident that residents, local authorities and MPs will put a halt to it.
The scale of the noise, congestion and pollution issues associated with a third runway make it unrealistic to think they can ever be overcome. Particularly when 27 times more people will be affected by flight paths and noise from an expanded Heathrow compared to a two-runway Gatwick.
A third runway at Heathrow would be this generation’s Millennium Dome. An embarrassing grand projet, which proves both costly and counter-productive for residents, consumers, taxpayers, the economy and our environment.