London's economy would reap massive benefits from Estuary airport
Thursday, 30th August 2012
Letter to the Times
Emma Duncan's willingness to change her view on aviation capacity for the sake of London's economy is admirable (Wake up. We need a Heathrow third runway, 28 July). But her arguments against a Thames Estuary airport do not hold water. Far from costing the taxpayer £60 billion, a new airport could be financed privately as long as the politicians are prepared to give a consortium of investors the fast track permission and tax breaks necessary to make such a commitment.
International investors have learned a lot about financing transport infrastructure over the past few decades, from financing the construction of the Channel Tunnel to building and operating new motorways. There is no economic logic that forces Heathrow to expand using private investment but an estuary airport to be built by the state.
Far from causing economic disruption, London?s economy would reap massive benefits from building a new six runway airport. We would be able to compete again for leading hub status within Western Europe against Madrid, Amsterdam Schipol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The Estuary airport would take passengers to all continents, leaving Heathrow as a point to point airport serving shorter UK, European and Atlantic destinations. If London is to grow its economy, we need to be ambitious and build an airport fit for the 21st century rather than make piecemeal improvements to the one designed for the last century.
Conservative MEP for London