Heathrow runway decision put off until Summer

Aaron Morby 9 years ago
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The Government has confirmed that it needs more time to make a decision on whether to go-ahead with a third runway at Heathrow.

In a statement on Thursday evening it said it would again delay taking a final decision this time until the Summer.

The move calls into question the Government’s commitment to delivering essential UK infrastructure despite vocal commitments to set in stone a national infrastructure plan that would not suffer from political meddling.

After considering key issues at the Cabinet airports sub committee chaired by David Cameron, the government confirmed it would undertake a package of further work expected to be concluded over the summer.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.

“We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, slammed the delay “deeply disappointing” on an issue of critical importance to the future prosperity of the UK is deeply disappointing.

“It is of course essential that environmental conditions are met. But the Airports Commission spent three years analysing impartial evidence, at a cost of £20m and the National Infrastructure Commission was set up just two months ago to take an evidence-based approach to our needs.

“We cannot fall into the habit of simply commissioning new evidence, instead of the Government taking the tough decisions needed at the end of the process.”

“By 2025 – the earliest a new runway would be built – London’s airports could already be operating at full capacity and the longer we wait the further we fall behind the likes of Amsterdam and Paris.

“If we don’t have a new runway up and running by 2030 the cost to the UK will be as much as £5.3bn a year in lost trade to the BRICs alone.

The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their three shortlisted schemes.

The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.

McLoughlin said that the Airports Commission’s air quality analysis would be tested using the latest projected future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

He said that the next step was to continue to develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment.

This would include a package for local communities to include compensation, maximising local economic opportunities through new jobs and apprenticeships, and measures to tackle noise.

 

 

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