London is short on both housing and runways and the city's mayor Boris Johnson has a 'two birds with one stone' solution: build the much desired airport capacity to London's east and the houses to the west.
The proposed airport, which would sit in the Thames Estuary, has been the focus of fierce environmental protests from it's inception and this has not changed. Darren Johnson, Green Party Member for the London Assembly, asked "[w]hat is the point of building a huge airport in the Thames Estuary flood plain and expanding the total number of flights and climate change emissions?"
The economic impacts of this proposal have been highlighed by Dr Onkar Sahota, Labour London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon, who predicted that it would "wreck west London's economy", creating "economic chaos".
The mayor disagreed stating that "the best option for increasing our aviation capacity is now to the east of London". This would free up land around Heathrow to create around 19,000 new houses, retail outlets and jobs. Another new town. Mr Johnson warned that granting permission for a third runway at Heathrow would likely be "followed by a fourth, as airlines move out of Gatwick to take up the new capacity."
A final decision on the proposal will be announced next summer.