Ambitious plans for a four-runway airport near Heathrow are to be submitted to the Government as a solution to the aviation crisis that has divided the coalition, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
A world-leading infrastructure firm is assessing sites to the west and north-west of London which could rival, or even replace, Heathrow to challenge other European hubs in providing air links with the Far East. Sites in Oxfordshire and Berkshire could potentially be in the frame for the airport, estimated to cost £40bn to £60bn.
Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Transport, is to launch a call for evidence as early as this week on how to increase airport capacity, after winning a major political battle to rule out a third runway at Heathrow. All other options are on the table, and a brand new “London West” airport with road and rail links to the capital would be seen as a “wild card” capable of challenging the Thames Estuary airport idea backed by Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, and the architect Lord Foster.