Davies Commission views on airport expansion echoes that of local authority, says Essex County Council leader

Essex County Council has welcomed the report by the Davies Commission which has put on the table options to expand the country’s aviation capacity.

This morning the Airports Commission announced proposals which could see a new runway at either Gatwick and Heathrow but not Stansted.

The local authority said it was “a clear reflection” of the views expressed in this year’s county council submission report, called Flights of Fancy.

Council leader David Finch said: “The report echoes exactly what we said in our Flights of Fancy submission to Sir Howard Davies this year: We said that a four runway super airport at Stansted was unviable and unwanted. Davies has listened to us.

“We said that the Boris Island options should not be on the shortlist. Davies has listened to us and we maintain that a mega hub in the Thames is vastly expensive and is not viable.

“We said that a second runway at Stansted may be inevitable but not for decades. Davies has listened to us.”

Cllr Finch added: “Stansted is an important part of not just the Essex economy but the east of England too. We are lucky enough to have in both Stansted and Southend two well-run airports that provide jobs and skills to the county.

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“I want to see that continue and I share Stansted’s ambitions to increase passenger and freight numbers.”

The independent Airports Commission review concluded that there is a need for one additional runway to be in operation in the south east of the UK by 2030.

The commission’s analysis also indicates that there is likely to be a demand for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050.

M.A.G chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said Stansted welcomed the commission’s support for measures to increase capacity at the airport in the short term, including improving rail links between the airport and central London.

He said he the hub also support the commission’s finding that Stansted is one of the viable options for a runway beyond 2030.

Mr Cornish added: “Stansted has a bright future, indeed we are the only London airport that can grow substantially in the next 10 years. Since we took ownership in February this year we have already signed up new airlines and destinations to meet growing passenger demand.

“Our immediate priority is to continue to transform the airport experience for our passengers.

“As London continues to grow to the east and high-tech industries along the London to Cambridge corridor grow Britain’s economy, Stansted has a critical role to play in supporting the country’s economic growth. At the right time we will bring forward proposals for a second runway at the airport to support this growth.”

• Essex County Council published Flights of Fancy in September. The document is available at: http://www.essex.gov.uk/News/Documents/ECC_Davies_Commission_Response.pdf