Will Heathrow ever be built?

Heathrow. Will it be built? And if so, by 2025, 2030 or 2040? And how many more runways will we needed by then.

We have a lot of Thorncliffe colleagues who are deeply embedded in the politics of south-west London, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem.

With Boris saying the third runway is ‘very likely to be stopped’, the Tories London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith resigning his seat saying ‘the decision is not only wrong but doomed’, and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling saying it ‘won’t happen if MPs vote against it’, this decision is nothing but controversial.

Twickenham MP Tania Mathias says ‘it’s not deliverable’, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he may be ‘supporting a legal challenge’, and John McDonnell says he’ll continue to ensure the runway ‘never sees the light of day’.

It’s not just MPs up in arms. Council leaders across the region are united in their condemnation. The 2M Group is made up of 20 local authorities against Heathrow expansion. The group unites Ravi Govindia from Wandsworth, Lord True from Richmond, Simon Dudley from Windsor & Maidenhead, Ray Puddifoot from Hillingdon, and Labour’s Stephen Cowan from Hammersmith & Fulham.

As journalist Iain Martin says “There will now be the mother of all public campaigns fought against a government with a small majority and already a lot on its plate with Brexit. Action groups will be founded and they will be extremely well-funded, by the financiers, lawyers and other professionals who live in Richmond, Putney and Wandsworth. Lucky old Boris though. This gives the Foreign Secretary, an opponent of Heathrow expansion, and an advocate of a new airport, a chance to reestablish his insurgent credentials by leading the campaign against this madcap scheme. Look what happened to the last PM he went up against…”

The Lib Dems will be licking their lips. They maintain their opposition to Heathrow, but they can see the political opportunities. The Conservatives won’t be running an official opponent against Zac, which means half the Richmond Conservatives won’t have to resign the party, but the Lib Dems intend to make this a referendum on Brexit – with Richmond overwhelmingly voting to Remain, will that outweigh Zac’s 23,000 majority?

What does this all mean for developers? Uncertainty? – perhaps. Changing political allegiances? – maybe. An opportunity for Thorncliffe colleagues to talk openly about Heathrow (and your scheme) with senior politicians? – certainly.