Airport lobby urges expansion decision

The lobby is pushing for a decision on a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick by the end of the year

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The Independent Online

The airport expansion lobby has launched an election push to make sure the next government approves a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick by the end of the year.

Let Britain Fly has asked its 6,000 supporters, who are largely made up of small business executives, to demand that prospective MPs who knock on their doors back immediate expansion of one of Britain’s two biggest airports.

The Airports Commission, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland’s chairman-elect Sir Howard Davies, will decide which of Heathrow or Gatwick should be expanded this summer. However, Let Britain Fly fears that politicians will then delay endorsing the preferred option for fear of angering residents in west London or Sussex who are concerned about extra noise and construction blight. Environmental campaigners are also concerned about the cost: Sir Howard has estimated that two separate Heathrow plans will come in at £13.5bn and £18.6bn, while a second runway at Gatwick could be £9.3bn.

Gavin Hayes, of Let Britain Fly, has told supporters to remind Parliamentary candidates that airport expansion is vital given that 40 per cent of UK exports go by air.

China is planning 17 new runways while there hasn’t been an extra full-length runway in the South-east for 70 years.