Ben Olney, Planning Associate Director for Infrastructure at property consultancy GL Hearn, comments on the Airports Commission’s rejection of the ‘Boris Island’ proposal:
“Sir Howard Davies’ decision to reject the proposals for a new airport in the Thames Estuary and to focus the UK’s airport capacity debate on other options being considered by the Commission, does not come as a surprise however the Mayor’s response demonstrates that there is still a long way to go in the airport debate.”
“The Development Consent Order (DCO) process was introduced in an attempt to depoliticise large scale infrastructure projects and allow objective, long-term decisions to be made about critical infrastructure. However today’s announcement and reaction starts to show some of the system’s shortcomings when there is a difference in opinion with large-scale projects.
Boris has vowed to fight on and there is now the high possibility that he could become the MP for Heathrow at next year’s general election, creating an even more challenging political backdrop. Meanwhile, Heathrow and Gatwick are ramping up their media campaigns and some politicians have even called for Sir Howard Davies’ Commission to be scrapped. Add a potential new government next year to the mix and the outlook is even more unclear. Big infrastructure projects of national importance require decisive long-term planning – something the current government could possibly have achieved when it had a clearer mandate to drive some momentum behind a chosen option.”