The new Mayor of London has signalled an end to City Hall’s opposition to expansion at London City Airport.
In one of his first acts in office, Mayor Sadiq Khan has withdrawn an objection to the Docklands hub buying the public land it needs to create a bigger terminal and a new taxi lane.
LCY wants to to compulsorily purchase 26.4 hectares of GLA land including part of the protected “Blue Ribbon Network”.
Newham Council had cleared the scheme but Boris Johnson rejected the approval on noise nuisance grounds, sparking a planning inquiry . That took place in spring and the result will be sent to the Government in the summer.
The new mayor did not make great play of LCY expansion during the election campaign with an early indication of support followed by silence.
The Mayor’s spokeswoman said: “The Mayor decided to withdraw the objection following new evidence submitted by City Airport and ongoing negotiations. The Mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation.”
A spokesperson for London City Airport said: “We are pleased with the GLA’s decision to withdraw its objection to the CPO and look forward to working with them to procure the area of land necessary to build the City Airport Development Programme, subject to planning permission being granted.
“Expansion will create more than 2,000 jobs, increase economic impact up to £1.3billion per year, and welcome new aircraft which are quieter and more fuel efficient, opening up new destinations.”
The move has alarmed anti-airport campaigners although they insist the move changes nothing and the result of the inquiry is still key.
Robert Barnstone, campaign co-ordinator at Hacan East, said: “Advocates of expansion should get less, not more excited at this stage as this changes nothing.
“City Airport is claiming this is a bigger victory for them when in reality we will know the outcome of the main planning inquiry later this summer, once the Planning Inspector has reported to the relevant Secretaries of State.”
Green Assembly member Sian Berry said: “This is a terrible start for the Mayor, putting paid to his pledge to be the greenest mayor London’s had.”
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Colin Standbridge said: “London City Airport has the potential to increase capacity in the short term so this move is certainly a step in the right direction but must not deter the Government from making a decision about airport expansion in the South East.”