Industry frustrated by Heathrow expansion delay

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The Freight Transport Association has warned that the government’s decision to delay a decision on a third runway at Heathrow will hit investment from overseas. And the British International Freight Association says it is frustrated by the delay.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in a statement that the government accepted the need for additional airport capacity in the South East by 2030. But he said the government needed to do more work on the environmental impact before deciding where the additional runway would go. A decision is now expected next summer.

Chris Welsh, the FTA’s director of global and European policy, said: “Yet another delay in a decision on future investment in airport capacity is damaging the UK’s international competitiveness. Approximately 40 per cent of Britain’s imports and exports are dependent on air freight. The UK’s ability to access existing and new markets is in danger of being seriously impaired by a failure to invest in Britain’s core infrastructure capacity.

And BIFA director general Robert Keen said: “Over the past decades, successive UK governments have shown a singular lack of vision in the face of a massive surge in air transport and consequent pressure on existing airport infrastructure in the South East.

“We need the government to get on with an increase in UK aviation hub capacity by announcing an expansion and improvement of airport infrastructure at Heathrow to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub.”

The CILT welcomed the government’s decision to accept the Airports Commission’s recommendation for additional runway capacity and to undertake further work on the environmental impacts before deciding on the location for that capacity.

“This additional work will enable certainty to be established about the conditions to be attached to approval,” it said in a statement.

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