Britain mulls future airport expansion

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Britain mulls future airport expansion

by AFP Videos 2:55 mins

Britain mulls future airport expansion

by AFP Videos 2:55 mins

SCRIPT: Hounslow in west London knows all about life in a flight path. Around 600 flights come into land daily at nearby Heathrow airport -- one of the world's busiest. But running at 98 percent capacity -- the airport has for years argued for a third runway to make room for future growth. And for years those plans have been fought off by campaigners concerned about additional noise and air pollution. Now though, a government advisory panel has been set up to look at the question of capacity -- and Heathrow are keen to put their case forward: SOUNDBITE 1: Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow airport [English, 26 sec]: "It's really important because it connects the UK to growth, to jobs and without those air links we can't participate in the same way in trade with countries that are growing - in China, in Brazil, in India. We have to have access to those markets, our proposals give that quicker, for less money than the alternatives and we've configured it in a way to minimise the unwelcome aspects locally and maximise the local employment benefits." While some favour a single large hub airport over limited expansion of existing airports such as Gatwick and Stanstead to best serve Britain's needs, none have been as radical as London's mayor Boris Johnson. He backs closing Heathrow altogether and building a four-runway hub from scratch -- on an artificial island in the Thames estuary to the east of London or on the nearby Isle of Grain SOUNDBITE 2: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London [English, 18 sec]: "I still think the Isle of Grain seems to me to combine the regeneration with the connectivity and with the ease of communication to London -- that seems to me why that option for my money has the edge at the moment." Building an airport here will cost around £65 billion and would not open until 2029 at the earliest. But the mayor would have to overcome local opposition and work out how to relocate a vast swath of protected natural habitat, including its marine and bird life SOUNDBITE 3: Rolf Williams, RSPB spokesman [English, 20 sec]: "I'm talking about 300 thousand wintering waders and wildfowl that are coming down from the whole of the Arctic Circle, from Canada across to Siberia that are coming here for the winter -- many of these birds have seen catastrophic population declines in recent years, they are managing to keep a toehold because of places like this." The threat of bird strikes and the challenge of relocating an entire ecosystem may well kick this plan into the long grass. The Airports Commission will deliver its verdict in 2015 as to how Britain will resolve its aviation conundrum. Only then the poisoned question of what type of airport, and in whose back yard, may finally be resolved. SHOTLIST: COOLING, UK / HOUNSLOW / LONDON, 15, 16, 17 JULY 2013 SOURCE: AFPTV -VAR aircraft flying over Hounslow, west London, on their approach to Heathrow (16 July, 2013) -GV speeded up shot of Heathrow airport (16 July, 2013) -MS aircraft taxiing at Heathrow -Aircraft flying over house in Hounslow -GV Tower bridge in London (15 July 2013) -GV City of London (15 July, 2013) -SOUNDBITE 1: Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow airport [English, 26 sec] -VAR graphics of possible runway locations at Heathrow Airport (Source: Heathrow) -GV Heathrow airport -VAR press conference with mayor of London, 15 July, 2013 -SOUNDBITE 2: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London [English, 18 sec] -Graphic of airport on Isle of Grain (Source: Mayor of London) -GV marsh land on Isle of Grain (17 July, 2013) -CU 'Stop Estuary Airport' sign on Isle of Grain -CU Rolf Williams looking through binoculars -MS birds on marshes -SOUNDBITE 3: Rolf Williams, RSPB spokesman [English, 20 sec] -VAR RSPB reserve on Isle of Grain, Kent -Graphic of airport on Isle of Grain (Source: Mayor of London) -VAR aircraft flying over Hounslow, west London, on their approach to Heathrow (16 July, 2013) ------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY: Britain-transport-aviation-economy-politics Close Heathrow airport, London mayor proposes =(VIDEO)= LONDON, Greater London, July 15, 2013 (AFP) - London's Mayor Boris Johnson on Monday proposed shutting Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world, and replacing it with a major new hub to the east of the capital. Setting out three proposals to end Britain's chronic shortage of air capacity, Johnson said a new four-runway airport would create thousands of jobs and allow London to compete with rival international transport hubs. "For London and the wider UK to remain competitive, we have to build an airport capable of emulating that scale of growth," he told a press conference. "Anyone who believes there would be the space to do that at Heathrow, which already blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners, is quite simply crackers." Despite being one of the world's busiest airports, Heathrow in west London has only two runways and is running at 98.5 percent of its capacity. For years politicians have wrestled with contentious plans to give Heathrow another runway, with Johnson among those arguing that the noise and air pollution would be intolerable for people who live nearby. On Monday, he put forward three alternative locations for a new four-runway hub, including his long-touted proposal to build an airport on an artificial island in the River Thames, dubbed Boris Island. The other two ideas are to expand Stansted airport northeast of London, which currently has one runway, and to build an airport on the Isle of Grain in Kent on the River Thames. The new hub could open by 2029 and would cost approximately £20 billion ($75 billion, 58 billion euros) including the construction of road and rail links to the airport, Johnson claimed. "Of all the three, I still think the Isle of Grain seems to me to combine the regeneration with the connectivity and with the ease of communication to London," said Johnson. He added that British politicians had been "sitting around like puddings for the last 40 years doing nothing" while rival countries built up their air capacity. Up to 100,000 homes could be built on Heathrow's site as well as a new university campus, the Conservative mayor suggested. "There is a fantastic opportunity here for London and the United Kingdom," he told a press conference, adding that the plan would help to solve London's "catastrophic housing shortage". In May, lawmakers on parliament's Transport Committee rejected the "Boris Island" plan and instead backed the expansion of Heathrow. A new hub to the east would not be possible without vast public investment in the road and rail system, the committee said. Johnson will submit the plans this week to the government-appointed Airport Commission, which is due to give its recommendations on the future of British air transport in 2015. Britain-transport-aviation-economy-politics Britain's Heathrow submits new plans for third runway LONDON, July 17, 2013 (AFP) - London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday formally submitted plans for building a third runway, saying it would expand capacity more quickly and cheaply than creating a whole new air hub. Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports, submitted three options to a government-backed advisory body just days after Mayor of London Boris Johnson proposed closing the airport and building a new one elsewhere. "It is clear that the best solution for taxpayers, passengers and business is to build on the strength we already have at Heathrow," said the airport's chief executive, Colin Matthews. "Today we are showing how that vision can be achieved whilst keeping the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum." The Airports Commission will consider the proposals and make recommendations in 2015 on how to address Britain's chronic shortage of air capacity. Heathrow, situated west of London, has long advocated expanding with a third runway, and it is currently running at 98.5 percent of its capacity. But campaigners warn the noise and air pollution would be intolerable for people living nearby. Johnson called for Heathrow to be replaced with a major new four-runway hub to the east of London. Under Heathrow's plans, a new runway would be built either to the north, the northwest or the southwest of the main site. It claims each would boost capacity from 480,000 to 740,000 flights a year by 2025-9 and would cost between £14 and 18 billion (16-21 billion euros, $21-$27 billion). "Each of the options could be turned into a four runway solution should the demand increase in future. This is a more cost effective solution than building a new four runway airport from scratch when we may never need one," it said.

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