New London mayor Sadiq Khan has cleared the way for the expansion of London City airport.
He withdrew City Hall’s objection to the airport buying land from the Greater London Authority that it needed to expand.
Former mayor Boris Johnson had tried to block the plans because of concerns about noise and instead promoted his “Boris Island” airport project in the Thames Estuary.
London City had resorted to trying to obtain a compulsory purchase order.
But a spokesman for Khan told the Financial Times: “The mayor has decided to withdraw the objection to this proposed compulsory purchase of land owned by City Hall following new evidence recently submitted by London City airport and ongoing negotiations.”
The Docklands airport’s growth plan involves expanding its terminal and building a new lane for aircraft to taxi, which would allow it to increase the number of flights by 40% and accommodate larger aircraft.
The airport still needs planning permission to expand. The application is with the planning inspector, who will send a report to the government, which will then decide whether to approve it.
Local residents are opposed to expansion because of concerns about noise, a similar situation to the battle over the expansion of Heathrow.
Khan’s spokesman said: “The mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation measures that will be considered by the secretary of state when he decides on the planning appeal in due course.”
London City airport said: “We are pleased with the GLA’s decision to withdraw its objection to the compulsory purchase order and look forward to working with them to procure the area of land necessary to build the City Airport Development Programme, subject to planning permission being granted.”
The airport was sold in February for £2 billion to a consortium led by a Canadian pension fund.
David Leam, infrastructure director at business lobby group London First, said: “This shows there is a new mayor in town willing to take a more pragmatic view than Boris on strengthening London’s international air links.
“It sends a strong signal to government to approve City Airport’s planning application, which has the support of the local authority, the business community and now City Hall.”
Separately, City Hall is expected to appoint Lord Andrew Adonis, head of the government’s National Infrastructure Commission and a former Labour transport secretary, as deputy mayor for transport.
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