Run­way de­lay cost­ing the UK £6m ev­ery day

‘Ur­gent’ need for de­ci­sion say MPs

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

MPS from across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide have de­manded an ‘ur­gent’ de­ci­sion on whether to ex­pand Heathrow or Gatwick air­port.

The de­lay in mak­ing a de­ci­sion over where to build a new run­way is cost­ing the UK up to £6 mil­lion a day, a re­port by a cross-party Com­mons body claims.

The Bri­tish In­fras­truc­ture Group (BIG), headed by Con­ser­va­tive MP Grant Shapps, urged new prime min­is­ter Theresa May to show her ‘met­tle’ by end­ing the spec­u­la­tion.

Its re­port en­ti­tled Gate Now Clos­ing, which was pub­lished on Sun­day July 24, calls for an ‘ur­gent and im­me­di­ate de­ci­sion on hub air­port ex­pan­sion’.

The re­port does not state where group thinks a new run­way should be built, but it ar­gues that the in­de­ci­sion is hav­ing a dele­te­ri­ous ef­fect on Bri­tain’s busi­nesses, the econ­omy and jobs.

“The prob­lem of ca­pac­ity at the cur­rent hub, Heathrow, is caus­ing sub­stan­tial dam­age to the in­dus­try as a whole,” the re­port says.

“It erodes con­fi­dence in the gov­ern­ment’s stated am­bi­tion of grow­ing the econ­omy and our in­ter­na­tional trade.

“The ev­i­dence has been gath­ered by the Air­ports Com­mis­sion. Now a de­ci­sion is needed, to show the new lead­er­ship’s met­tle.”

The Air­ports Com­mis­sion last sum­mer rec­om­mended build­ing a third run­way at Heathrow over a sec­ond land­ing strip at Gatwick.

The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion was ini­tially de­layed last year when fur­ther en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies were com­mis­sioned, and then in June, fol­low­ing the out­come of the EU ref­er­en­dum.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port has not in­di­cated when a de­ci­sion is likely, fol­low­ing Chris Grayling’s ap­point­ment as the new trans­port sec­re­tary.

Theresa May’s elec­tion as prime min­is­ter, and the ap­point­ment to her cab­i­net of a num­ber of Heathrow op­po­nents, saw one book­maker slash the odds on Gatwick win­ning the bat­tle for a new run­way.

Heathrow re­cently un­veiled new im­ages and video footage show­ing how an ex­panded air­port would look, which it said showed it was ready to be­gin work as soon as it got the go-ahead.

n IN­DE­CI­SION: This artist’s im­pres­sion for Heathrow is one of the op­tions for the fu­ture of air travel in the UK; (left) Grant Shapps says Theresa May needs to end spec­u­la­tion now

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