Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected calls to speed up a review of airport in the southeast of England.
Cameron said the Davies Commission review into UK airport capacity needed time to “marshal all the arguments” over whether more runways should be built at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted or a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
His comments, reported from a Commons lunch by the London Evening Standard, represent a rejection of London mayor Boris Johnson’s call for a faster decision on the controversial issue.
Cameron praised Heathrow saying: “Heathrow, with two runways, manages to deliver many more landings and take-offs than other airports around the world with four, five or six runways.
“So let’s not talk down what is a great national asset – one of the busiest airports anywhere in the world.”
Cameron reportedly said: “In the end, extra capacity will only be delivered because it’s something that will stretch over many years, if you can actually get the politicians to think long-term and try and work together over it and that’s the opportunity that Davies affords.
“Plenty of time for a debate, plenty of time to get this right. But let’s have a process that can deliver an answer rather than just more hot air.”
He described airport expansion as a “very big decision for the whole country”.
Cameron said: “It’s slightly easier if you are mayor of London because you can argue that the airport can go in Essex or Kent or somewhere else and that’s not your concern. But it is the concern of the people of Essex and Kent and elsewhere.”