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

Staines Informer - - FRONT PAGE - Charlotte To­bitt

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’

124 Church Street, Staines Upon Thames, TW18 4ZB 01784 454240 • the­

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.”

Pa­trick McLough­lin.

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