The Freight Transport Association is calling on the UK government to act decisively on the recommendation of Sir Howard Davies’s Airport Commission to expand Heathrow via the addition of a third runway.
The final report from the commission concluded that Heathrow was the best option for economic reasons, including £147bn in economic growth over the next 60 years and the creation on 70,000 new jobs by 2050.
Daviesalso highlighted the benefits it would bring to the UK freight industry, with Heathrow providing the country’s main for air freight.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s director of global and European policy, said he was reassured by the commission’s recommendations, adding that it would ensure UK remains competitive in the global air freight market.
“Additional capacity at Heathrow is critical to allow importers and exporters to access new and emerging markets in Asia, South America and the Indian sub-continent,” said Welsh. “FTA urges the Government to take on board these recommendations and act quickly.”
The addition of a third runway was one of three options being considered by the commission, with the two others being the extension of an existing runway and an additional runway at Gatwick. According to Davies, the runway extension scheme was rejected with unanimous support for a third Heathrow runway. Davies noted, though, that expansion at Gatwick was still a credible option.
The commission’s recommendations are accompanied by a list of provisos designed to protect local residents. These include a ban on night flights before 6am, a legally binding ‘noise envelope’ which will guarantee noise levels do not exceed current limits and a commitment in Parliament not to expand the airport further.
The FTA’s comments follow a number of industry bodies who reacted positively to the recommendation but unanimously urged the government to act fast to ensure the UK’s air freight future.
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