THIRD RUNWAY DECISION DELAYED TILL 2018
SNAP GENERAL ELECTION IS BLAMED FOR POSTPONEMENT
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.