Heathrow/Gatwick expansion decision on hold
A government decision on whether Heathrow or Gatwick will get the go-ahead for further expansion and a new runway will be delayed “until at least October”, the UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said. Last week’s “Brexit” referendum vote and the subsequent resignation of the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has meant the ruling Tory Party must now elect a new leader – and it appears highly unlikely that a decision on the airport expansion proposals can be made until this process is completed.
In July 2015, the Airport Commission recommended that Heathrow should proceed with plans for its third runway. In December, however, the government said it wanted to delay its decision in order to carry out more analysis of how the expansion might affect noise and pollution levels.
UPDATE AT 17:00 GMT ON 30 JUNE: CBI reacts to delayed runway decision
The CBI reacted to the announcement that a decision on airport capacity expansion in the South East will be delayed until the appointment of a new Prime Minister.<
In a statement sent to Post&Parcel this afternoon, the business group said that the delayed decision will “see France and Germany beat the UK economy”, adding that German trade will grow by £15 billion, and French trade by £7.5 billion.
Paul Drechsler, the CBI President, commented: “More than ever before, it is absolutely critical that the Government sends a signal, loud and clear, that the UK is open for trade with markets across the globe.
“Building a new runway in the South East is a key decision for the long-term future of our economy and country, and will demonstrate to, and reassure, Britain’s workers, makers, exporters and investors that the UK is open for business.
“The Government has announced the decision will be delayed yet again, but kicking the can down the road is already having a real effect. Last year the CBI showed that delays to getting a decision on airport expansion by 2030 could see the UK lose out on over £30 billion in lost trade with the BRIC economies alone.
“Our new analysis shows that our European rivals with spare capacity will be gaining at the UK’s expense, cashing in on their own thriving connectivity, if we fail to get on and build a new runway. By 2030, better capacity will see German trade with the BRIC economies alone grow by an additional £15 billion, and French trade grow by £7.5 billion – trade that could and should be coming here.
“We could still avoid this scenario, if the new Prime Minister makes a decision with a clear timetable for action immediately after entering Downing Street, so that construction can begin by 2020.”