UK commission urged to expand Heathrow and drop Thames hub

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Louise Ellman, chair of the UK's parliamentary transport select committee, has renewed her call on the Airports Commission to recommend expansion of London Heathrow airport and drop the idea of a new hub to the east of the capital.

The commission is to publish its interim report on 17 December.

Ellman points out that the parliamentary committee warned in July that the construction of a new Thames Estuary airport would force the closure of Heathrow, which would have "unacceptable consequences for individuals and businesses in the vicinity of the existing airport and the local economy".

The construction of a Thames Estuary airport would also involve "huge public investment" and have a major impact on the environment, the committee said, adding that Heathrow would be "unsustainable" if it was not allowed to expand.

"The [parliamentary] inquiry found very clearly that Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – has been short of capacity for a decade, is currently operating at full capacity and needs a third runway," she says.

The Airports Commission's interim report will present its initial recommendations for options on airport expansion in southeast England ahead of a final report in 2015.