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Boris Johnson: 'Heathrow runway would fail UK'

The mayor of London has claimed that runway expansion at Heathrow Airport would “fail the country”.

In a damning 30-page dossier sent to every MP and peer, mayor Boris Johnson has written that even if a third runway was constructed, Heathrow would serve fewer long-haul and fewer domestic destinations by 2030 than it does today.

It also concluded that a third runway at Heathrow would simply be too small to meet the UK’s long-term need and would not be able to deliver what is required without a “devastating impact” on the local environment and public health.

The dossier comes over a month after the Airports Commission recommended Heathrow ahead of Gatwick as the preferred location for airport expansion in London.

Mr Johnson attacked the report, outlining what he saw as “major weaknesses” in the Sir Howard Davies-led study.

He said that the independent report had “overstated” the economic benefits of a Heathrow runway and claimed that it “failed to demonstrate” the damaging impact it would have on air quality.

Mr Johnson has been a vocal advocate of the building of a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

The airport, also known as “Boris Island”, was rejected last September by airport chiefs due to fears over spiralling costs, environmental impact and economic disruption.

Mr Johnson has now called on the government and Airports Commission to review the evidence in the dossier and “revisit potential locations for a four runway hub airport”.

Mr Johnson said: “The Airports Commission has spent several years in the production of a gigantic ball of wool that they are now attempting to pull over the eyes of the nation. The figures teased out of their report on the fall in domestic and even long haul connectivity show that as a nation, by expanding Heathrow, we would merely be investing in decline.

“Their report very clearly shows that a third runway will fail both London and the UK on every level. Our great nation is sleepwalking its way towards becoming a bit part player in the aviation world. Now is the time for boldness. Now is the time to build an airport that can fulfil the needs of every corner of the UK.”

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