London First response to Airports Commission Interim ReportDecember 17, 2013
This morning, the Airports Commission has published its interim report on the future of air capacity in the UK.
LONDON FIRST OVERALL RESPONSE TO THE REPORT:
“This is the first step to delivery. The government must now act on the Commission’s short term recommendations and all parties must back this process to its conclusion. The Commission must not join a long line of technocratic exercises spanning 50 years of inaction. Political leadership will be required to stay the course. The options for new runways must now be worked up so they can be compared, judged on a like-for-like basis and put to public consultation before the General Election.”
THE DECISION TO LEAVE OUT AN ESTUARY AIRPORT AND STANSTED:
“If the Airports Commission is not to be consigned to a long line of technocratic exercises – and inaction – over the last 50 years, we must not start unpicking its rationale. Tough decisions have been made, and tougher decisions are to come. Now is not the time to unravel the purpose of this Commission”.
IMPROVEMENTS TO SURFACE LINKS TO HEATHROW, GATWICK AND STANSTED:
“We welcome the step change improvements to rail links that are recommended, particularly to Gatwick and Stansted, and which are poor compared to Heathrow and international rivals. World class rail links will spur these airports’ ability to compete for new airlines and passengers ahead of new capacity, extending the use of their assets and growing London’s access to global markets”.
THE CREATION OF AN INDEPENDENT AIRCRAFT NOISE AUTHORITY:
“We have campaigned hard for this because the economic argument for having more flights could be lost if we don’t win the hearts and minds of people who worry their lives will be blighted by noise. An independent noise authority would make sure that all airlines fulfil their obligations and give local communities the assurance that someone is looking out for them. It would also give policy makers a source of objective information on which to make their decisions.”
NO LIFT TO HEATHROW FLIGHT CAPS:
“This is a missed opportunity. Heathrow is full, and demand for it is growing, so in the short term it is vital Government acts urgently to ensure Gatwick and Stansted are strengthened to extend the use of their spare capacity. Freedom from out of date price controls and a step-change improvement to their rail links would spur their ability to extend London’s links, while Heathrow runs at capacity for the next decade at least. We welcome the measures proposed to cut flight delays and stacking at Heathrow, a necessary condition for more flights. These must be delivered in the short term.”