Heathrow and Gatwick expansion decision 'delayed until Tory leadership contest resolved'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Thursday 30 June 2016 11:25
Comments

The Government is set to announce that the decision on whether to expand airport capacity at Heathrow or Gatwick will be left for David Cameron's successor.

The Prime Minister had been expected to confirm which project would get the go ahead in the coming weeks if the UK voted to remain in the EU.

But Mr Cameron's resignation following the Brexit vote means the decision on airport expansion will be deferred until a new Conservative leader is elected.

It is understood that the Government will clear up its position on the issue during transport questions in the House of Commons on Thursday morning.

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of business group London First, said: "Clearly this is disappointing. Nothing can be more vital for a trading island than sufficient air links, especially after the referendum result.

"There should be no question that whoever takes over from David Cameron must keep the Government's commitment to open a new runway by 2030."

Gavin Hayes, director of campaign group Let Britain Fly, commented: "One of the first tests of leadership for the next prime minister, and the clearest way of demonstrating we have strong government again, is to make this long overdue decision.

"There is too much economic turmoil right now to delay this any longer."

It is almost exactly one year since the Davies Commission recommended the building of a third runway at Heathrow.

In December the Department for Transport announced that further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation would be carried out before a decision is made.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate told the Press Association: "The enormous pollution both noise and air quality that Heathrow inflicts on hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, it's this issue that politicians are going to have to grapple with and get to grips with if they are to make a decision on a runway that will ultimately see a runway delivered.

"If you look at Gatwick, we have a tiny fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow yet you get all of the same economic benefits, all of the same connections to short haul destinations, all of the same connections to long haul destinations and at a cheaper price.

"When we look at whoever the next leader is, our intention will be simply to continue to press the merits of our case because we simply think we've got the strongest case and we certainly believe we've got the only deliverable case."

More to follow

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in