Boris Johnson says Heathrow expansion will never happen and derides 'fatuous' proposals

Mayor likens expansion to 1950s Maoist China megaproject

Jon Stone
Wednesday 01 July 2015 10:22
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

The expansion of Heathrow airport will not go ahead, the Mayor of London has said.

Boris Johnson likened proposals to build a new runway at the transport hub to the megaprojects of Maoist China and said it would be difficult for his party to back the plans.

“As it happens I don’t think my services as a bulldozer-blocker will be required for decades, if ever, because I don’t think this is going to happen,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“This is the sort of thing you could possibly have got away with in China in the 1950s, but the impact in London, the impact on the city, the environmental cost, the whole human rights legal cost, is so great that I don’t think it is deliverable.”

Mr Johnson is a long-time opponent of Heathrow expansion and has proposed building an alternative airport in the Thames estuary to the east of London.

He was reacting to a new report by the Government’s Airport Commission that recommended building a new runway to the north of the complex.

The Government is set to decide whether to follow the advice of the Davies commission.

The Mayor also rejected the Commission’s proposal for a law preventing a fourth runway being built at the airport, arguing that it was meaningless.

“[The law] is a totally fatuous thing to propose since everybody knows that no parliament can bind its successors and as Sir Howard acknowledges in his report Heathrow will come forward with plans for a fourth runway,” said.

“Heathrow is already in breach of all sorts of laws and to think that you can stop a fourth runway or that anybody is going to fall for that fiction is risible.”

Mr Johnson's intervention and continued opposition is significant because he is one of the favourites to be the next leader of the Conservative party.

If the Government accepts the advice of the Commission it will be a major reversal of policy for the Prime Minister David Cameron.

In 2009, whilst in opposition, Mr Cameron said: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts.”

A poll by ComRes found that 63 per cent of Londoners believe the capital’s current airport capacity meets or exceeds their expectations, with only 24 per cent believing it is inadequate.

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