Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - LOIS SWINNERTON lois.swinnerton@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @Lois Swinnerton

A FI­NAL de­ci­sion on the third run­way at Heathrow Air­port has been post­poned un­til 2018.

Trans­port sec­re­tary Chris Grayling stated the pub­li­ca­tion of the fi­nal Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment (NPS) set­ting out the po­si­tion of the govern­ment and the en­su­ing House of Com­mons vote will not take place un­til the first half of next year, blam­ing the snap Gen­eral Elec­tion for the de­lay.

He said: “This govern­ment is fully com­mit­ted to re­al­is­ing the ben­e­fits a new north­west run­way at Heathrow would bring, in terms of eco­nomic growth, boost­ing jobs and skills, strength­en­ing do­mes­tic links and, crit­i­cally, in­creas­ing and de­vel­op­ing our in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tiv­ity as we pre­pare to leave the Euro­pean Union.

“The tim­ing of the elec­tion, in par­tic­u­lar the need to restart a se­lect com­mit­tee in­quiry into the draft NPS means we now ex­pect to lay any fi­nal NPS in Par­lia­ment in the first half of 2018, for a vote in the House of Com­mons.”

He added a fur­ther up­date would be pro­vided fol­low­ing the House of Com­mons sum­mer re­cess.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port pre­vi­ously an­nounced in Oc­to­ber last year that steps to­wards a fi­nal de­ci­sion would be made in late 2017 or early 2018. Co­or­di­na­tor of the No 3rd Run­way Coali­tion, Rob Barn­stone, re p re s e nt in g MPs, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and cam­paign groups op­posed to ex­pan­sion, said: “Post­pon­ing this de­ci­sion once again shows that the govern­ment are wor­ried not only about los­ing a par­lia­men­tary vote, but also that their avi­a­tion strat­egy will sim­ply be in tat­ters.

A new run­way at the UK’s big­gest air­port is cru­cial Back Heathrow’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Par­mjit Dhanda

“As the weeks and months go on, we’re see­ing even greater sup­port for our cam­paign against Heathrow ex­pan­sion. By the time this vote comes be­fore Par­lia­ment, if at all, we are con­fi­dent that MPs will vote it down. Heathrow ex­pan­sion is not de­liv­er­able.”

Par­mjit Dhanda, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Back Heathrow, said: “It’s great news that the govern­ment has reaf­firmed its sup­port for ex­pand­ing Heathrow.

“A new run­way at the UK’s big­gest air­port is cru­cial as we look to nav­i­gate Brexit and cre­ate a bright, pros­per­ous fu­ture out­side of the Euro­pean Union.”

He claimed the ex­pan­sion will cre­ate 10,000 ap­pren­tice­ships, 77,000 new jobs in the lo­cal area and 180,000 across the coun­try, adding: “This is a huge op­por­tu­nity and we are con­fi­dent that when par­lia­ment votes on it next year, it will not fail to take it.”

Heathrow Air­port claims it is able to ex­pand while re­duc­ing the noise im­pact on peo­ple liv­ing un­der the flight paths.

It cur­rently has a num­ber of schemes in op­er­a­tion pro­vid­ing both lo­cal houses and schools with forms of noise in­su­la­tion.

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