Great Britain

Boris Johnson warned blocking third runway at Heathrow will hit his dream of a global Britain

BORIS Johnson is under growing pressure to throw his full weight behind a third runway at Heathrow ahead of a landmark court ruling tomorrow.

The boss of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye warned that if the expansion does not happen, that will drive traffic to fast-growing Paris-Charles De Gaulle airport which will then turn into the UK’s main hub.

In a blunt warning to the Prime Minister, he said: “No Heathrow expansion means no global Britain”.
Around 40 per cent of UK exports leave via Heathrow’s freight flights, he said.

He said: “Now is a great opportunity for the Prime Minister to let exporters get to global markets, take back control and stick it to the French by backing the airport’s expansion.”

The airport boss added that Paris-Charles De Gaulle airport - which has five runways - is “filling its boots already” by grabbing valuable long-haul traffic from Heathrow, which is operating at capacity.

A key ruling on the legal battle to block the third runway is set to be announced by the Court of Appeal tomorrow.

The expansion plan has been disputed on climate, noise, air pollution, traffic and economic grounds in cases brought by four groups including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

That will then throw the spotlight back on to Boris Johnson who has been a vocal opponent of the expansion of the UK’s largest airport – with his constituency Uxbridge and South Ruislip near the hub’s flight path.

He famously said he would lie down in front of the bulldozers to prevent a third runway – and went to Afghanistan while Foreign Secretary instead of voting on the issue in 2018.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt, who backs the runway said: “We are committed. Any resiling from that commitment sends a chilling message about our commitment to key national infrastructure development and our economic future."

“This would be a terrible message to send out as we begin to build a new global role for Britain and completely inconsistent with Boris’s vision for our future.”

The new strip has many other critics including IAG, the owner of British Airways, whose home is at Heathrow. It objects on cost grounds.

The airline group said yesterday: “The environmental impact and cost of Heathrow expansion needs independent review as the airport cannot be trusted.

"Its original £14billion cost for expansion is now £32billion and it has a history of gold-plating projects and overpaying shareholders while understating the environmental significance of expansion.”

The Airports Commission has ruled out the UK putting down a new runway in other airports such as Stansted and Birmingham.

Calling Heathrow the “beating heart of the UK’s trading network”, Mr Holland-Kaye added: “Only a hub airport can get goods and people to all the big trading markets of the world. We cannot let the French control our trading future - we need to have a leading hub in the UK and Heathrow expansion will do that.”

Expansion will also boost UK regions, he promised, with building taking place offsite in four hubs around the country.

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