UK shippers have warned that the British government's further delay on a decision for new runway capacity in the south east of England "is bad news for the economy and will further erode confidence in Britain’s ability to compete in global markets".
The assessment came from Freight Transport Association (FTA), which has been a strong advocate of a third runway for London's Heathrow Airport, which is competing against a second runway option for Gatwick Airport.
The independent Davies Commission concluded in July 2015 that Heathrow was the best option because of the economic benefits for the whole country, which included £147bn in economic growth over the next 60 years and the creation on 70,000 new jobs by 2050.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s Director of Global & European Policy, said: “This is the third time a decision has been put off since the Davis Commission report was published last year. Increased airport capacity in the south east has become a political football and the situation must not be allowed to continue. Britain needs connections with the world now it has walked away from the EU.
“The Government needs to get on with its job and protect British industry – exporters and importers are crying out for leadership on this issue. The Davis Commission gave a clear recommendation for expansion at Heathrow and this was borne out by FTA’s own study – now we need to get on with it.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today confirmed to the House of Commons that an announcement would not be made until a new Conservative leader had been elected – October at the earliest - further delaying the long-awaited decision on a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.