Airport expansion: Choose Heathrow or Gatwick soon, MPs urge Government

There is mounting concern that the main parties have not committed themselves to backing whichever option is eventually selected by the Airports Commission

Nearly 60 MPs, including the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, have demanded a quickfire decision from the next government on expanding Heathrow or Gatwick airports.

Graham Brady said: “It is critical we address the issue of airport infrastructure as soon as possible – we’ve clearly put off a decision for decades now. It’s important we make sure there is at least one new runway built in South-east England to prevent us falling behind other countries in terms of trade.”

There is now mounting concern among MPs that the main parties have not committed themselves to backing whichever option is eventually selected by the independent Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies when it reports this summer. MPs pledging support for a quick decision will be published on the Let Britain Fly website tomorrow.

 

The coalition has previously been criticised for failing to push through multibillion-pound runways at Gatwick or Heathrow during its five-year term of office.

 Expansion is considered vital to the economy, particularly as rival international airports grow – Dubai took Heathrow’s top spot as the world’s busiest hub for international travel in January.

But many Tories in west London and Sussex are worried that expansion would see them lose the votes of residents opposed to more aircraft noise, and the pollution and roads chaos caused by construction work. Other campaigners are critical of the enormous costs.

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‘Too much delay’: Louise Ellman, chair of the Commons Transport Committee

Louise Ellman, chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, said there was “too much delay” in relation to airport expansion. Clive Betts, chair of the Local Government Committee, added that the issue risked “getting lost” in the event of a hung Parliament.

Gavin Hayes, director of Let Britain Fly, said: “Growing numbers of MPs from across the political spectrum understand the urgent need to expand London and South-east airports to support future jobs and economic growth.

“The clear message from Parliament and the back benches is that they want the next government to make a quick decision on airport expansion.”

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