Introducing better compensation measures is one thing that could be done to push projects through more quickly, says Tony Travers, director at the London School of Economics.
We are learning how not to do things when promoting major infrastructure projects, said Tony Travers, speaking at the recent Runways UK event.
“Everyone says we should do better - but by convincing parliamentarians to come up with the right processes and frankly better compensation measures."
“Crossrail was first mooted in the 1970s, some say earlier, but in its modern form it was seriously tabled in 1989 and is only now heading for opening in late 2018. Heathrow’s Terminal Five also was seen by many as not the best way of doings, but we learn from all this,” Travers says.
“Everyone says we should do better, but by convincing parliamentarians to come up with the right processes and frankly better compensation measures. If you ask me what one thing can be done to push these things through, it’s better compensation.”
Questions of devolution have been dominating a lot of the Government agenda recently. London is seen to have benefitted from having an elected mayor. Will this help get more done, helping to streamline planning processes elsewhere?
“Mayors can undoubtedly drive through change, although interestingly, London’s Mayor has been against expanding Heathrow and he’s had his own proposals for an airport in the Thames Estuary. So mayors can also be obstacles if they don’t like something and of course elections can change things. They’re generally champions for infrastructure, but not in every case,” Travers says.
With regard to Heathrow, Travers says, the Davies Commission has delivered its recommendation, but this is now looking like a step towards still not quite sure.
“In the end something will have to be done,” he says. “Britain is very good at civil aviation. It would be madness not to take advantage of being good at an industry and letting other airports in other countries take advantage. So eventually seems the answer. Let’s hope that’s sooner than it often is.”