The mayor of London says he feels like he is “knocking my head against a brick wall” when it comes to Heathrow expansion and south-eastern air capacity.
Mr Johnson said he didn’t know why the government was kicking the problem into the long grass, and called Westminster’s “intermittent” interest “a real mistake”.
The mayor said a project to builld a new estuary airport would attract “a huge, huge prize” in public investment in ancillary transport links, regeneration to the East of London, and the possibility of a new port.
The so-called ‘Boris Island’ proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary was one of three sustainable possibilities, he said, in addition to developing another type of airport in the estuary and expansion of Stansted.
According to Mr Johnson, a planning and construction process of between six and eight years on improving London’s aviation capacity means that no solution will be completed until 2026 or 2028, in what he predicted would be “a miserable and protracted battle” resulting from “repeated government failure to take action early enough”.
“I don’t believe the problem is finance”, the mayor told a press conference in London’s city hall, “I think it’s political will”. He added that “there’s no time like the present”, and that the risks of inertia were “huge”.
“No European country is being so blind and so complacent – we’re missing out on opportunities around the world, we’re failing to attract inward investment.”
“We’re losing business, we’re losing jobs, we’re losing time.”
Mr Johnson welcomed the Davies commission examining airport capacity, but warned against losing ground to rivals in Europe and elsewhere, pointing to larger airports in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
“There’s no reason to go on for three years discussing this,” he said.
On the proposals for a third runway at Heathrow, Mr Johnson said: “I say to my friends in Ferrovial, I say ‘forget it, it will not be built’”.