SOUTHEND Airport bosses have warned a third runway at Heathrow would be “too little, too late” as experts claim it would have knock-on effects for surrounding airports.

The comments come after John Gummer (Lord Deben), who is chair of the Government’s committee on climate change (CCC), told Sky News that Heathrow’s expansion would use up “the majority of the envelope” the aviation industry would have between now and 2050.

Southend Standard:

Ambitious - Warwick Brady

This implied other expansions should not be permitted if Britain is to hit its climate targets.

Warwick Brady, CEO of Stobart Group, said Southend Airport is ready and able to help share the demand for airport expansion in the London area.

He added: “Heathrow Airport’s proposed expansion will be too little, too late for London.

“The UK capital’s travel needs will continue to grow at a rapid pace. It is important that the UK government and the next Prime Minister understands this growth will trump any Brexit outcome for London’s aviation industry.

“The good news is that Southend Airport, which has more than 40 destinations and is London’s next big airport, is ready to spread the air travel capacity across the capital.

“The environment is a clear concern. More than a third of Southend’s passengers travel by train thanks to routes running between London Liverpool Street station and Southend Airport station.”

The warning from Lord Deben is thought to be significant, since the government has previously followed recommendations laid down by the CCC, which is its official adviser on climate change.

He insisted there was nothing in Britain’s emissions targets which prevent expansion at Heathrow but it would have knock-on consequences for the rest of the aviation sector which is expected to keep creating greenhouse gases in future decades.

MPs have approved the Heathrow expansion, but that was prior to the new information.

The approval is currently under judicial review after being legally challenged by councils, residents, environmental charities and the mayor of London.