Final call for new runway?
It is just so British….. Having taken three years of study, sifting through all the arguments for the economic benefits and social impact of each of the three alternatives (a second runway at Gatwick, a third at Heathrow – or lengthening the northern runway at Heathrow), the Davies Commission came down fairly and squarely in favour of a third runway at Heathrow.
Notwithstanding the social impact of this decision (it is calculated that there will be 165,000 people directly affected), it was the potential economic benefits of Heathrow as a hub (enabling 260,000 more fights a year) that convinced the commission that this is the only possible alternative.
Here in the south east, flight paths are an inevitable factor to country house buyers, in their search for rural tranquillity – but to them, this is not over; the Davies decision is just a recommendation! Having commissioned the Davies Commission in the first place, the Government could still decide to ignore their conclusions (its thought ministers will need to run their own consultation, just a short one, maybe a few weeks, to hedge against legal challenges).
George Osborne has in the past hinted that he wants to get on with it as soon as possible, but even if the politicians race it through as quickly as they can – and there is likely to be plenty of political opposition – there may be legal challenges and planning permission to deal with and new infrastructure to build.
We suspect it could be another three years before country house buyers can stop looking at suitable houses with one eye, whilst the other is trained on the sky…….