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26 March 2012

Heathrow Expansion "An Environmental Disaster"

Boris Johnson has said that a third runway will not be built at Heathrow while he is power.

The Conservative mayoral candidate has said the further expansion of Heathrow would be "an environmental disaster " and akin to trying to "cram a quart into a pint pot".

He issued the statement amid reports that David Cameron and George Osborne are keen to re-examine long term policy on Heathrow amid fears that it is choking off economic growth. "'Heathrow has a great future as a key UK airport. But we cannot endlessly expand it, and cram a quart into a pint pot," Johnson said.

"A third runway would be an environmental disaster. It would mean a huge increase in planes over London, and intolerable traffic and fumes in the west of the city – and it will not be built as long as I am mayor of London.

"That is why the government is right to look at all new solutions for extra aviation capacity except the third runway at Heathrow. I look forward to engaging with [transport secretary] Justine Greening's consultation this summer."

Johnson has consistently opposed a third runway but has been building the case for the past four years for a new airport hub on the Thames estuary to create extra airport capacity in the south-east on economic grounds. The government recently confirmed it would consult on the issue, though Johnson told the Guardian over the weekend that despite his efforts, "contrary to popular belief I am not the slightest bit wedded to some remote archipelago in the Thames estuary."

Johnson is open to airport capacity being expanded at other sites, including Gatwick and Stansted.

However, Justine Greening has previously ruled out both in answers to parliamentary questions.





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