Boris Johnson has rebuffed calls to back a third runway at Heathrow, saying it would be a “disaster”. The London mayor said the expansion plans were “desperately short-sighted” and “barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population”, whose health he said would be put at risk, accordian to a Guardian report.
The comments come ahead of an announcement by the chairman of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies, who is expected to dismiss Johnson’s proposals for a four-runway airport in the Thames estuary. On Friday, Heathrow’s new chief executive John Holland-Kaye wrote an open letter to Johnson asking him to support the campaign to expand his airport. He said: “Britain definitely needs a successful hub airport if it is to compete in the global race. This leaves two choices: expand Heathrow or build a new solution in the Thames estuary.
“If your own proposal for a new Thames estuary airport is not shortlisted by the Airports Commission then Heathrow will be the only hub option left in the race.” But, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Johnson said: “We need scale and ambition to compete, and Heathrow is no answer.”
He said a third runway would be “a disaster for hundreds of thousands of people living under new flight paths, who currently have no idea of the peril”.
Johnson added: “Heathrow is already by far the noisiest airport in Europe, about a hundred times worse than Paris. A third runway will mean there are more than a million people in the city affected by noise pollution of more than 55db.”
He said the expansion would mean a rise in medical problems linked to noise pollution, as well as more road congestion.