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East Ham MP Stephen Timms is backing City Airport expansion

11:05 09 September 2015

Archant

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has set aside £525,000 of public funds to fight the expansion of London City Airport.

The expansion plans were approved by Newham Council, and supported by the Mayor’s own officers at the Greater London Authority. Expansion is needed to accommodate newer, quieter aircraft, as well as increasing demand.

The airport has always been controversial. I had doubts when it was proposed 30 years ago.

Today I support the expansion. My main reason is the expectation of creating 2000 additional jobs on the site. Unemployment remains our biggest challenge. And the airport has an exceptionally good record on recruiting local unemployed people.

Boris Johnson has cited local opposition to justify his own opposition. There will always be concern about expanding any airport. However, in Newham – it seems to me – the great majority of people recognise that the additional jobs will outweigh any nuisance.

Even West Ham Conservatives have come out against the mayor, and in favour of expanding the airport.

London is crying out for more airport capacity. The Mayor of London recognises this need, but is opposing the only viable proposals for expansion, which are at Heathrow, and now at London City.

His own bizarre proposal – for a new airport on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary – is a complete non starter. It has now been officially thrown out by the Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies.

Expansion at London City will provide a modest but worthwhile increase in airport capacity, while Government decides how to implement the Davies Commission recommendations.

London desperately needs resources to tackle the housing crisis, environmental problems and unemployment. Boris Johnson should recognise that his pet project is never going to happen, and resolve instead to use the mayor’s resources to improve the lives of people in London. More from Stephen

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