No Heathrow U-turn, but what next?


So, that's clear then. There will be no U turn.

There will be no eating of prime ministerial words.

There will be no third runway at Heathrow built by this coalition - no ifs, no buts as David Cameron once said.

However, the pressure from business groups for an expansion of Britain's airport capacity remains.

The residents of west London may now be breathing a sigh of relief, but anti-noise campaigners will know that - particularly now there's to be no new runway - there will be renewed pressure for more flights from the existing two, allowing take offs and landings (or so-called mixed mode use).

Those living near Stansted will know that there will be calls for more capacity there.

And the talk of an airport on Boris Island - in truth an idea which long predates the current Mayor of London - will now begin in earnest.

The reason David Cameron made his definitive pledge to oppose a third runway and the reason every major political party has recently opposed it is that airport noise is extraordinarily unpopular, affects people across dozens of constituencies and pledges to halt it can turn elections.

The prime minister may insist that all that happened today is that his ministers re-stated government policy.

However, he will know that he will now come under pressure to answer the question - if not Heathrow, where? And if not airport expansion to revive the economy, what?

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    There is absolutely no reason on earth why you should not be able to transfer at the same airport! proviso being! Flight Operators are not Hub controllers.
    That bias will always leave smaller operators having to find slots at other airports!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    36. Paul
    Fair comment Paul, but I think your missing the point, these airports have undergone changes and have then been organised to utilize those changes in accordance with existing flight operations! A small point `Monopoly`
    The system is not well organised!
    How many times have you been told `this update will solve all previous problems!` only to receive another to mend that one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Look at the inconvenience for passengers - having to commute across London in that nightmare that is London traffic - or even worse - the Tube, coming in on one flight to one airport, crossing London to another airport, to leave on another. OR to fly in to Heathrow, cross one airfield, and leave from another terminal on the same airport.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Seems that a good sort out of our existing system could work wonders.
    There are numerous satellite fields that that could be used for specific purposes or aircraft size, I believe Manston was mentioned, ideal for freight with an excellent transport infrastructure! this alone would negate the need for Heathrow expansion! use of other fields should give capacity for years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    There is already a perfectly good airport in Kent - Manston (MSE) - with one of the widest and longest runways in the country. It has the coast on 3 sides, so flight-path disruption is minimal and disruption to wildlife minimised too. It's close to the M2 and M20 motorways so access to London by road is simple, and HS1 is a short distance away. It's the obvious choice - see


Comments 5 of 38



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