South East has been questioning where to build a new runway for years.
What's bothering the place is that the lack of progress does not even equate with the want of trying. It's definitely far from it. As a truth, this issue had been over the last 40 years. If there's really an effort exerted for those years that have passed, there should have been three or four new runways by now.
According to City A.M., since 1963, after a government committee shortlisted 18 possible sites for a major new airport in the South East, no fewer than 12 policy documents, commissions or White Papers have been produced to try to solve the thorny issue of where to build new runways in the London area. The 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper is the most recent of these that supported a new runway at London Stansted followed by a further runway at Heathrow.
Fortunately, in the upcoming weeks, the government is finally expected to announce where a first new runway should be built. The most likely choice is between Heathrow and Gatwick. While the government's decision won't guarantee that the work to be done would start, it is likely to provide some much needed clarity to a highly public debate that has probably cost the government and the two airports involved in excess of £100m over the last few years.
The Airports Commission purposely chose not to make a suggestion on where a second new runway should be built in the long run. Once the government has decided between Heathrow and Gatwick for the first runway, it then needs to start the process of setting out how and when further runway capacity should be developed, considering a broader view of the potential options.
The timescales included in planning and delivering new infrastructure mean that it is important the government offers a framework for more runway capacity to be delivered at the right time.