London Mayor Sees ‘colossal’ Congestion From New Heathrow Runway
London joins with English cities to campaign for financial devolution
capitals Heathrow airport, the busiest in Europe , would lead to colossal road congestion and overcrowding on trains. The mayors comments, in a submission to the government-appointed panel thats examining how to expand airport capacity in southeast England, are intended to support his case for a new hub to the east or north of the capital. The people who run Heathrow are greatly underestimating the effect of a third runway on the local transport network, Johnson said. They appear to be completely unconcerned about having cooked up a recipe for colossal levels of congestion that sentencetheir passengers and Londoners to years of misery. An extra runway at the existing airport would lead to more than 25 million additional road journeys a year, the mayor said in an e-mailed statement. That would require extra lanes on the M4 highway leading west out of London , while the M25 orbital motorway would need to be rerouted and put in a tunnel under the new landing strip. Including other road works, the cost might rise to 12 billion pounds ($19 billion), according to Johnson. New rail infrastructure might cost 10 billion pounds, he said. Johnson has said Heathrow should be replaced by one of two undeveloped sites in the Thames estuary or by an expanded Stansted airport, 35 miles (55 kilometers) northeast of London. The state-appointed Davies Commission on how to expand airport capacity is due to issue its final recommendation after the 2015 general election. To contact the reporters on this story: Eddie Buckle in Manchester, England , at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at email@example.com More News:
While the change would not give London more cash in the first year, the move from grant settlements would bring greater freedom and flexibility on how to spend the cash. It would also enable the Mayor and borough leaders to commit to long-term projects such as Crossrail 2 in the knowledge that they had a predictable income stream from which to fund them. Investing in such schemes would then boost receipts from some of the retained property taxes, increasing the amounts available to invest in future projects. When the Commissions report was published, Chair Tony Travers said the proposals could also apply to other cities. Professor Travers has since suggested their adoption could depend on backing from other parts of England. The Mayor and London Councils, the body which represents all local authorities in London, have now joined forces with Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield to make the case for greater financial freedom. The group believe that properly funded local government is best placed to tackle unemployment and contribute to the nations economic recovery. It is also suggested that greater autonomy for regions and cities could be the answer to calls for English devolution following the establishment of regional Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: That Londons government is joining with Englands largest cities to call for change is an historic and significant move. My aim is for the capital to win fiscal reforms in line with those presented by Professor Tony Travers excellent London Finance Commission report, namely those that give residents and businesses a closer say over where their hard-earned taxes are spent. This will enable politicians elected by Londoners to plan and finance the infrastructure we need to prosper in the face of a decade of expansion. By the same token, this formula can be applied to cities across England, ending stop-start finance settlements and instead providing a reliable stream of funding to enable investment, jobs and growth. Sir Richard Leese, Chair of the Core Cities cabinet which represents Citiies outside London, said: Englands great cities have a proud tradition of independence and ambition. Yet our ability to act on that ambition has been eroded as central state control of our finances has increased year on year. Together the Core Cities and London represent more than half of the national economy and almost half the population. But we only directly control around five per cent of the taxes raised within our cities, and such funds as are returned by the government come back with strings attached.