Transport CommitteeSupplementary written evidence from the Mayor of London (AS 104A)

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before your Committee to give evidence on Monday 11 February 2013.

We discussed a number of very important aspects of airport policy and I wanted to write to emphasise some of the points which I feel are of critical importance.

The Mayor’s Aviation Work Programme

As the Mayor described to the Committee on 11 February, a significant programme of work is underway aimed at making a substantial and detailed submission to the Davies Commission before the end of this year. Earlier that same day, he announced the appointment of the consultancy team that will work with TfL, including engineering, financial, environmental, legal and architectural experts.

You will be aware that the Mayor published two substantial reports on hub airport capacity and the economic benefits of aviation during his first term, available at

Furthermore, I am concerned that it may have been the Committee’s impression that the Mayor’s team have not been engaging to the proper extent with key stakeholders such as the Environment Agency, who gave evidence to the Committee immediately before us on 11 February. I would like to take this opportunity to state clearly that we have met with a wide range of relevant organisations, including the Environment Agency but also NATS, the CAA and the RSPB, to name but a few, in order to involve them in our work at the earliest possible opportunity. Over the coming months we will be working closely with these organisations as our technical work progresses.

Surface Access to Heathrow

During our evidence session the Mayor and I pointed out that there is at present no way for rail travellers to reach Heathrow directly from the west—they must come into central London and take onward services from there. In fact, the entire package of public transport serving Heathrow is woefully inadequate for an airport that currently serves as the main gateway to our capital and our country.

You will be aware that there are plans for improving access to Heathrow from the west through the Western Rail Access proposals contained in the Government’s High Level Output Specification (HLOS). These proposals would allow services to operate directly into Heathrow from locations to the west of the airport. Whilst at an early stage of development, these plans could be delivered by 2020, subject to funding and powers being secured.

However, if Heathrow were chosen as the site for future expansion (something which the Mayor believes completely unacceptable on environmental and practical grounds, and totally undeliverable in the face of political opposition) it would presumably be on the basis that it could provide the long term capacity that the UK needs. Our own assessment shows that this would be on the basis of a four-runway airport with in excess of 150 million passengers per annum.

To accommodate this level of demand at Heathrow would require further major investment in surface access, including new rail and road links. We are in the process of assessing the full extent of this, but at this stage we expect it to be similar to the investment in surface access we predict would be necessary for a new hub airport on the eastern side of London.

A new airport on the eastern side of London could very practicably be connected via high speed rail to St Pancras and to Old Oak Common linking travellers to the north and west (using infrastructure the Government is already committed to building as part of HS2) as well as to a number of other central London locations in under thirty minutes, including Waterloo and London Bridge (linking travellers to the south and west). If your Committee requires supplementary evidence or has any further questions for me or the Mayor, please do let us know and we would be very happy to oblige.

March 2013

Prepared 31st May 2013