What the editorials said
For more than 40 years, governments have “danced around” the question of airport expansion in southern England, said The Daily Telegraph. In that time, the number of passengers using Heathrow has grown from 15 million a year to 75 million. It’d be nice to think we could now just get on with it; alas, “the scope for procrastination is still considerable”. The political backlash has already started: Goldsmith’s resignation will trigger a by-election that the Lib Dems will try to turn into a vote on Brexit. We can expect numerous legal challenges, said the FT, and even under new accelerated planning procedures for major projects, the expansion has to be subject to public inquiries, and an MPs vote. “That hardly projects the image of a dynamic nation eager to welcome investment.” Ministers are making a “big mistake”, said The Times. A new runway at Gatwick could cost only £7.4bn and be completed by 2025. Heathrow will take years longer, because of the sheer scale of the project: 750 homes will have to be demolished, and a vast bridge may have to be built to carry the runway over the M25. Noise pollution will mar the lives of hundreds of thousands more people. Gatwick should have won.