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Stansted expansion ruled out but door is still open on new hub in Thames Estuary
8:22am Tuesday 17th December 2013 in News
EXPANSION at Stansted Airport has been ruled out by a Government-appointed commission but the door is still open on a new hub in the Thames Estuary.
A new, third, runway at Heathrow moved a step closer when the commission chose the west London airport as one of its expansion options.
In an interim report, the Airports Commission, headed by former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies, also put an extra, second, runway at Gatwick airport in West Sussex on to its short list.
In addition, Sir Howard's team did not rule out a Thames Estuary airport scheme, favoured by London mayor Boris Johnson, with the commission saying it will look further at the Isle of Grain airport option in the first half of next year.
But the commission has not shortlisted proposals for expansion at either Stansted airport in Essex or at Birmingham Airport.
The commission said it had concluded "there is a need for one net additional runway to be in operation in the South East by 2030".
It added that its analysis also indicated "that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050".
Sir Howard's team said it would be taking forward for further detailed study proposals for new runways at two locations:
- Gatwick: Gatwick Airport Ltd's proposal for a new runway to the south of the existing runway;
- Heathrow (two options): Heathrow Airport Ltd's proposal for one new 3,500-metre (11,500ft) runway to the north west and Heathrow Hub's proposal to extend the existing northern runway to at least 6,000 metres (20,000ft), enabling the extended runway to operate as two independent runways.
Today, the commission said it had not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options "because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage".
It said it would undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and "will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other shortlisted options".
Sir Howard's team also said that there was likely to be a case for considering Stansted and Birmingham as potential options for any second new runway by 2050.
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