Boris Johnson hits out over Heathrow: London will be the ‘city of planes’
Fellow cabinet minister Justine Greening also expressed her disappointment at the decision to back a third runway at Heathrow.
Boris Johnson did not speak out against Heathrow expansion at this morning's cabinet meeting, according to Number 10. However the foreign secretary quickly broke his silence after the decision was confirmed by the transport secretary in the Commons.
Johnson lamented the government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow – but skirted questions as to whether he would lie in front of bulldozers to prevent its construction.
Having been given permission by Theresa May to speak out, Johnson repeatedly suggested that the plan would see London become a city primarily know for planes flying overhead.
"No other great city would do this to its inhabitants. New York is going to be the city of beautiful skyscrapers, Paris the city of lights and London in the future, if we go ahead with this project, will be known as the city of planes,” he said.
He added optimistically: “I think it very likely that it will be stopped and I just remind you that this is not the first time the UK government has publicly decided in favour of a third runway at Heathrow.
“You will recall that it was the Blair government that did exactly the same, so we’ve been here before and I fear we are going to see an inevitable fight in the courts and I think the chances of success of the proponents of a third runway are not high.”
Asked whether he would fulfil his previous pledge to lie in front of bulldozers to prevent a third runway from being built, Johnson replied: “The day when the bulldozers appear is a long way off, if indeed they ever materialise to build that third runway because after all there are at least four Conservative-led councils that have already made clear they are going to litigate against it.
“My view is that the whole proceeding will be snarled up in objections of one kind of another, legal objections of one kind or another.”
Also fiercely opposed to Heathrow expansion is education secretary Justine Greening.
The MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields said: "Along with many people in my local community, I am extremely disappointed with the decision to push ahead with a third runway at Heathrow.
"My views against expanding Heathrow, particularly on the impact of noise and air pollution on local residents and the weak economic case, are long-held and well-known.
"I will continue to represent the views of my constituents, not least during the forthcoming public consultation on the draft national policy statement announced by the secretary of state for transport today."