Jul 9 2012 By Salina Patel
A THIRD and fourth runway at Heathrow should be granted planning permission as a long-term solution to secure hub airport status, according to a group of Tory MPs.
The bold proposal will refrain from damaging London's position as a world business hub, with demand expected to double over the next few decades, a report by the Free Enterprise Group said today (Monday).
Co-authored by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, the MPs argue a third runway already has the advantage of private funding, industry support, and existing infrastructure. The report cited possible locations for a fourth runway too.
"No option for aviation expansion is perfect, but this option would allow Britain to rapidly build on its strengths, rather than take the speculative risk of a completely new facility," the report said. "BAA would have the option either to build both runways simultaneously, if this proved cost efficient, or to stagger the construction. This would both give the industry more strategic certainty about its future, and be more honest with locals about what to expect."
However plans were criticised by campaign group HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths.
HACAN chair John Stewart said: “These MPs are fighting the tide of history if they believe it is possible to build one, let alone two, new runways at Heathrow. All the political parties have recognized the difficulty of expanding Heathrow and are officially opposed to a third runway.
“The irony is that, if a fourth runway ever saw the light of day, it would be built south of the existing airport, straight through Kwasi Kwarteng’s Spelthorne constituency.”