Boris Johnson ditches £200m London City Airport expansion plans

Boris Johnson today pulled the plug on plans to double the capacity of London City Airport, saying expansion would “blight the lives of thousands of people”.

The Mayor of London said granting permission for the £200million scheme - including a 50 per cent increase in take-offs and landings - would lead to an "unacceptable" increase in noise, and stood by his call for the construction of a so-called Boris Island hub airport to the east of London.

His decision, welcomed by campaigners, drew accusations of "blatant electioneering" from the Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, whose council waved through expansion proposals last month.

A Mayor of London spokesman today said: "The mayor has long argued that Heathrow Airport cannot be expanded due to the increased noise it would lead to in west London and he is not willing to expose east London to additional noise either.

"The Mayor continues to believe that a new hub airport to the east of London is the only long-term option that will provide enough aviation capacity – without detriment to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people in London and the southeast."

Newham Council's directly elected mayor Sir Robin said Mr Johnson's decision was political and would cost the borough 2,000 jobs.

“Boris Johnson is guilty of blatant electioneering," he said.

"He is clearly more interested in chasing election votes in Uxbridge than securing vital jobs and investment in east London.

"The cost of that electioneering is 2,000 jobs in Newham alone, £750m every year for the UK economy and the loss of environmental improvements."

Expansion: the plans were touted as a major boost for the capital The attack prompted Mr Johnson to fire back: "Robin Wales doesn’t speak for the people of East London.

"Perhaps he’d like to explain why it’s acceptable to support proposals that would have blighted the lives of thousands of Londoners if this proposal had gone ahead."

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Expansion proposals included an increase in the number of take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000, almost doubling the number of passengers to six million annually by 2023.

Under the plans, the terminal would also be extended and seven new stands for aircraft introduced.

But in a letter sent to Newham Council today Mr Johnson directed the local authority to refuse the airport's planning application.

Last month, City Airport's chief executive Declan Collier said expansion would be a major boost to London’s economy and would provide an urgent increase in air capacity the capital “desperately” needs.

Plans: file picture shows a plane landing at City airport in London He said: “Expansion will allow us to increase the flight capacity over the next few years that London so badly needs now."

Alan Haughton, from anti-expansion campaign group Stop City Airport, today said: “I am delighted by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson's refusal of these plans that would have seen thousands of residents entering a new London City Airport noise contour.

"The impacts of noise on residents should not be underestimated nor ignored as it has a direct impact on their quality of life - something that the Labour Council of Newham did not fully respect when they gave their approval.

"No other East London Council supported this application and thousands of residents objected."

A separate application to build a six-storey four-star hotel on the City Airport site has been left to the council to determine.

Source Evening Standard