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Airport boss: Ignore misguided Gatwick expansion plea

By Neil Lancefield

The chairman of the Airports Commission has urged the Government to ignore Gatwick's pleas to be expanded instead of Heathrow.

Sir Howard Davies insisted the issues raised by Gatwick after his commission's report were carefully considered before the decision was made to recommend a third runway at Heathrow.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Sir Howard claimed the impact on air quality of an expanded Heathrow would be "a manageable part" of the Government's efforts to meet EU limits for pollution in London.

He added: "Limited weight should be placed on the suggestion air quality represents a significant obstacle to expansion."

Sir Howard defended the findings on a number of other points - such as cost and noise - and claimed some of Gatwick's arguments were "entirely misguided".

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Many people will be surprised Sir Howard maintains limited weight should be placed on the issue of air quality as an obstacle to airport expansion.

"It is currently at illegal levels at Heathrow and it is hard to see how millions more car journeys with a third runway will not make it even worse." David Cameron has said the Government will make a decision on airport expansion by the end of the year.

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