The Third London Airport — A Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Catherine M. Price


In 1968 the Government set up a Commission, chaired by Mr Justice Roskill, to consider the best site for a third London airport. This followed several years of speculation on where such a project should and would be placed and a vigorous campaign from those affected by Stansted Airport to prevent its development as a major civil airport. The Commission was thus dealing with issues which raised strong feelings in those living near potential sites, and it had the unenviable task of balancing and assessing these reactions to determine the optimal solution. In the context of these problems it turned to cost-benefit analysis for guidance, and this chapter uses the report as an example of how such an approach has been applied. The Commission was not unanimous in its recommendations, and as well as considering the majority line of argument and conclusions we shall also discuss Professor Buchanan’s minority report and his reasons for disagreeing with his colleagues. The problem of the third London airport raises interesting issues for the wider field of cost-benefit analysis, so we shall look in some detail at the assessment of noise (especially in its effect on residents), time savings and air safety. First, though, let us consider the wider issues by following the Commission’s own line of procedure.


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Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. ROSKILL COMMISSION, Commission on the Third London Airport (London: H.M.S.O., 1970). See also the reading suggested at the end of Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9, especially those at the end of Chapter 8.Google Scholar

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© Catherine M. Price 1977

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  • Catherine M. Price

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