LONDON: March 20, 2016. With London voters poised to elect a new Mayor in May, incumbent and EU 'Brexit' supporter Boris Johnson has resurrected his plan to replace Heathrow with either a new four-lane airport east of London or by expanding Stansted north of the capital.
Capitalizing on the concerns of prospective voters, Johnson's new study claims a third runway at Heathrow would expose 124 more schools and 43,000 school children to a level of aircraft noise "proven to affect their level of reading and memory" and cost £20-£25 billion in additional health costs due to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and dementia.
The report also says 500,000 people will be exposed to a significant level of noise from a third runway - more than the five main rival European airports combined, it argues.
In addition to an "unprecedented level of debt for a private airport", Johnson said a three-runway Heathrow would be full in 2030 and subject to the same problems of congestion and delays that the airport faces today.
By comparison, his new report claims a four-runway hub airport to the east of London would spur regeneration and new housing, contribute £92 billion to the UK economy by 2050 and support 336,000 jobs around the country.
Johnson added: "There is no silver bullet for the noise nightmare of a third runway at Heathrow and any approval of expansion would clearly result in decades of legal challenges. Its cramped urban location simply cannot accommodate the kind of airport this country requires to compete on the global stage and the cost to the taxpayer of necessary road and rail connections would be huge, however well disguised."
The Mayor said the UK government should tell the owners of Heathrow their plans are not in the interest of Britain's future growth and prosperity.