The loss of Heathrow’s hub status would put as many at 70,000 jobs at risk, a new report claims.
The study commissioned by Ealing, Hounslow and Slough councils surrounding the airport warned that the “nuclear option” of creating a new hub in the Thames Estuary and closing Heathrow by 2030 would have a “cataclysmic” impact on local employment.
More than 30,600 jobs in the three boroughs directly or indirectly depend on Heathrow, according to the report.
Tens of thousands more in the area are “catalysed” by its presence so that overall it accounts for more than a quarter of jobs in Hounslow and Slough, and a tenth in Ealing.
The study is published as Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission prepares to issue its recommendations for expanding capacity next week, the Daily Telegraph reported
The councils argued that effects on the local economy around Heathrow were not being properly taken into account.
An earlier study commissioned Transport for London had not considered employment by businesses attracted by the airport, they said.
Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said: “Thousands of local families depend on Heathrow for their livelihoods and the airport plays a critical role in the local economy. Closing it should not be contemplated.”
Creating a new hub while retaining one runway at Heathrow would be better than closure for the local economy, but still cost 54,100 jobs, according to the study.
Leaving Heathrow untouched while building a new runway at Gatwick would cost 1,100 jobs by 2030, it found. A new runway at Stansted would hit around 3,500 jobs in the three boroughs.
Doing nothing across the South East and relying on existing capacity would mean the loss 11,600 jobs, as the UK would become less competitive.
Expanding Heathrow with a third or even fourth runway would meanwhile create 28,400 jobs in the area by 2030. However, Ealing and Hounslow oppose expansion on noise grounds while Slough has not yet stated a position.
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