Airports renew runway battle after Brexit
Heathrow and Gatwick set out their cases, but decision to be delayed until new Tory PM is in place in October
A FINAL decision on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick Airport has been delayed again until a new Prime Minister has been chosen.
An announcement on airport expansion in the south east was expected this summer, but after Britain voted to leave the European Union, leading to an impending change of Prime Minister, the decision has been pushed back again.
Speaking in Parliament last Thursday, the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Being realistic, given recent events, I can’t now foresee any announcement until October.”
A year ago the airports commission backed expansion of Heathrow with a third runway.
A spokesman for Heathrow has now suggested expanding the west London airport would send the ‘strongest possible signal’
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that Britain business.
He said: “If Britain wants to be confident, outwardlooking and at the centre of the world’s economy then expanding Heathrow must be a key building block in the government’s Brexit plan.
“It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations. is open for
“And at a time of uncertainty a £16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create jobs and growth across the UK.”
However, Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said only Gatwick can provide certainty of delivery.
He said: “It is now clearer than ever that only Gatwick can deliver the new runway Britain needs, to provide the direct connections to North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia that we all want, because only Gatwick can balance the economy and the environment.
“In these uncertain times that means Gatwick can give the country certainty of delivery. And Britain cannot afford yet more delay.
“We have pledged we can deliver by 2025, at a cost that everyone can afford, without public subsidy and at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow. None of that has changed.”
In response to Mr McLoughlin’s announcement of the delay, the Green Party reiterated its call for all new runway plans to be dropped.
Keith Taylor, MEP for the south east, said: “This postponement is for political reasons; the government is in total disarray.
“It is time to recognise the case for expansion is built on sand.
“It is, and always has been, a myth that the UK faces an airport capacity crisis; we already fly more than any other country, yet the huge budgets of the airport and pro-expansion lobbies are busy trying to convince us otherwise.
“All but one UK airport is under-capacity and demand is likely to fall, rather than rise, following Britain’s decision to leave the EU.”