Victoria Borwick is a London-wide member of the London Assembly and a councillor in Kensington and Chelsea she is the Conservative Member of the GLA Transport Committee and Conservative Aviation Spokesman.
Tony Travers of the London School of Economics was spot on when he said in the Times on 2nd November, that unless Britain invests in major airport infrastructure such as Lord Foster's Isle of Grain proposal or the Mayor of London's Estuary Airport, the country will face decline. The Government has yet to show it understands what is needed on aviation policy.
Heathrow runs at 98% capacity, with jets circulating for an accumulative 55 hours every day over London. It is estimated that the British economy is loosing £1.2 billion a year to Schiphol, Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt because our own airports in the South East are unable to compete with increases in capacity taking place at other European hubs. Business argue that the UK risks losing trade deals with emerging economies such as China if we do not do something about air capacity.
Unfortunately we have put off a serious discussion about the inadequacies of our present airport provision for too long. We should have been confronting these strategic decisions years ago. Even radical solutions such as Boris Johnson’s Estuary Airport under present planning and legal regimes, could not be delivered in time to stop the slide against our competitors. “Boris Island”, a planned multi runway airport that would sit in the Thames Estuary would take 25 years to deliver and cost £50 billion to construct. Lord Foster's Isle of Grain has a similar price tag and time frame.