Boris Johnson: 'Heathrow chaos must teach BAA serious lesson'

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said airport operator BAA had "very serious lessons" to learn from the chaos caused at Heathrow by this month's snowfall.

Speaking at the Westfield Shopping Centre in west London, Mr Johnson said: "I have been going on about this now for two, three, four days and I think honestly people have been wondering why it took so long to get planes going after the last snow flake fell on Heathrow.



"I really hope BAA is learning some very serious lessons; they have got to be ready next time."



The mayor said he was sure there would be a "mega investigation" into why the airport had been so affected by the severe weather.



Mr Johnson denied that the problems at airports, train stations and the Eurostar had been embarrassing for London.



He said: "I think we've got a great British habit of beating ourselves up but I think if you look at the services in London, the tubes and the buses didn't too badly at all.



"I think overall the parts of London that Transport for London is responsible for did pretty well, but it's a tough few says."



Mr Johnson said Transport for London had not yet had to reach into its strategic reserves of road grit and that gritting by borough councils seemed to be "holding up pretty well".



The Mayor was visiting the shopping centre ahead of the scrapping of the Western Extension Zone of the congestion charge, which covers west London.



The final charging day of the Western Extension will be December 24 after which drivers will only need to pay for the original central London Congestion Charging Zone, which was introduced in 2003.



While Mr Johnson found that most last-minute Christmas shoppers were supportive of scrapping the Extension, one mother told him: "I think it's the wrong thing. I know that's not what you want to hear."



Amanda Waggott, 44, of Notting Hill, said the increased daily charge to £10 would cost her more on the school run.



Mr Johnson said: "The Western Extension Zone was imposed on London and when people were consulted on it they said they didn't want it but the previous mayor bunged it on nonetheless.



"This is a function of democracy, and it's the right thing to do."



Mr Johnson referred to his predecessor Ken Livingstone as "Voldermort" and said "He failed to consult and then he overruled public opinion.



"I'm very pleased that we did the right thing by the people of London."



He said the estimated £50m that would be lost in revenue from scrapping the Western Extension Zone was a "comparatively small cost".



He added: "I think the best way to tackle pollution is not to impose new taxes on drivers but to bring in newer, greener vehicles."



On January 4 a voluntary Auto Pay system will be introduced to automatically charge drivers the correct amount for driving inside the Congestion Charge zone.



The mayor would not comment on claims made by Business Secretary Vince Cable to reporters from the Daily Telegraph posing as constituents.



But Mr Johnson, who is a columnist for the newspaper, joked while standing next to schoolchildren: "You've got to spot the undercover Telegraph reporters."



The Mayor also briefly met Father Christmas outside Santa's Grotto and asked him whether he had to pay Congestion Charge on his sleigh.



Father Christmas replied: "I've got a complete exemption for the whole universe."











London Chamber of Commerce chief executive Colin Stanbridge said he was pleased Mr Johnson had scrapped the extension which had "only achieved minimal reductions in congestion while putting off many people from coming into the West End to shop".



But Val Shawcross, Labour's transport spokesperson on the London Assembly, said scrapping the extension was one of the "worst decisions this Mayor has made".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee