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?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Recruitment Genius: National Sales Account Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager - Cyber Security

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager for Cyber Secur...

Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst - Application Support - Central London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst (App...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engineer (Windows Server, Exchange Server)

£35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: 3rd Line Support Engine...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum