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- Government delays airport decision
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- Copyright: Reuters
Labour's London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan used to favour a third runway at Heathrow, but changed his support to an expansion of Gatwick.
He told the BBC: "This delay and dithering may be well and good for the internal politics of the Conservative Party, but it's bad news for London's businesses. Bad news for London, the south east, and our country. We need a decision now. What we should be doing is agreeing to a new runway at Gatwick Airport. This dithering and delay will mean problems in relation to growth."
Mr Khan said growing evidence about poor air quality over London had persuaded him against a third runway there.
He said: "I don't apologise at all for changing my mind when the facts changed. This year our Supreme Court in London held that our air was in breach of the air quality directive. Last year in London almost 10,000 Londoners died because of air quality.There are children now whose lungs are underdeveloped because of air quality."
Yet more dismay over the delayed decision, this time from the Transport Committee.Quote Message: I'm disappointed by the Government's failure to take a decision. The Davies Commission was asked to report after the general election but still, the Government is dithering. The longer this process takes, the more the UK will lose out in business opportunities while our competitors forge ahead in developing links with expanding markets." from Louise Ellman Chair, Transport Select Committee
- Quote Message: It’s no surprise that David Cameron has choked on the Heathrow decision. It’s an inconvenient truth, but experts are clear you can’t build a new runway and tackle London’s toxic air pollution at the same time. It's absurd that UK Government Ministers are touting “Green Britain” in Paris while beating the drum for more climate changing pollution through a new runway back home. With the majority of flights taken by a small number of frequent flyers, it’s time the Government taxed those who are contributing most to the air pollution and carbon problems that aviation exacerbates.” from Friends of the Earth
- Copyright: BBC
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is on the BBC explaining the decision after an avalanche of criticism from business leaders. He "regretted" claims that the government was being "gutless" for delaying a decision on airport expansion.
"We have moved further than any other government towards airport expansion," he said. "We are not ducking a decision. It is right that we address people's fears. I'm not making an apology for taking a little longer to make the right decision.
- Copyright: PA
In the arguments over new runways at either Heathrow or Gatwick, it's often forgotten that the Airports Commission considered a third option - extending Heathrow's northern runway. And like Gatwick's supporters, the Heathrow Hub campaigners now think they are back in the game.Quote Message: Given the importance of this major national infrastructure decision, a short delay to do additional work on the noise and air quality impacts of airport expansion seems sensible to us. The government is right that everything possible must be done to mitigate the effect on local people and the environment. Our independent proposal - which from its inception has been designed to be politically and socially acceptable - is still very much in the game, competing with the big corporate guns of Heathrow Airport Ltd and Gatwick. There can be no doubt that expansion at Heathrow is in the best economic interests of the entire country and our extended runway is cheaper, simpler and less disruptive than Heathrow Airport's own third runway scheme. It also brings no new areas into the noise footprint. We are delighted that the Government has accepted the case for expansion and the full shortlist originally drawn up by the Airports Commission." from Jock Lowe Director, Heathrow Hub
Robert Peston cuts to the chase.
- Copyright: BBC
The chief executive of Gatwick Airport is a happy man. The airport's proposed expansion looked to be dead after the Airports Commission recommended putting a third runway at Heathrow. Now that's been thrown into doubt. He says:Quote Message: This is a defining moment in the expansion debate. There is now a clear choice facing Britain: growth with Gatwick or inertia at Heathrow with an illegal scheme that has failed time and time again. We have always maintained that this decision is about balancing the economy and the environment. Expansion at Gatwick would give the country the economic benefit it needs at a dramatically lower environmental cost. We are glad that the Government recognises that more work on environmental impact needs to be done. Air quality, for example, is a public health priority and obviously the legal safeguards around it cannot be wished away. Even Heathrow’s most vocal supporters must now realise a third runway at Heathrow will never take off as the environmental hurdles are just too high. If they want Britain to have the benefits of expansion and competition they should now look to Gatwick. Expansion has been in a holding pattern for decades. Momentum is now behind Gatwick as it becomes ever clearer that it is the obvious solution." from Stewart Wingate Chief executive, Gatwick Airport
- Copyright: PAQuote Message: Delaying this decision on an issue of critical importance to the future prosperity of the UK is deeply disappointing. We urgently need to increase our runway capacity to spur trade growth, investment and job creation. Just eight new routes to emerging markets could boost our exports by up to £1 billion a year. But by 2025 - the earliest a new runway would be built - London’s airports could already be operating at full capacity and the longer we wait the further we fall behind the likes of Amsterdam and Paris. It is of course essential that environmental conditions are met. But the Airports Commission spent three years analysing impartial evidence, at a cost of £20m, and the National Infrastructure Commission was set up just two months ago to take an evidence-based approach to our needs. We cannot fall into the habit of simply commissioning new evidence, instead of the Government taking the tough decisions needed at the end of the process.” from Carolyn Fairbairn CBI director-general
Zac Goldsmith, London MP and candidate to be the city's mayor, saidthe government's delay marked the end of the Heathrow expansion plans
The MP, who had threatened to resign over the issue, told the BBC: "This is exactly the right decision. The environmental obstacles [at Heathrow] are insurmountable. This takes Heathrow off the agenda."Copyright: BBC
More from London mayor Boris Johnson, who says Heathrow expansion has been "officially grounded" despite airport officials putting a "superhuman effort into bouncing the government into a quick decision in their favour".
He says: "The Prime Minister and his colleagues have refused to allow themselves to be hustled. The wheels are falling off the Heathrow fuselage and I think that, now the government has hit the pause button, they will begin to understand with ever greater clarity that, due to the environmental impacts, the legal obstacles and the cost to the public purse, this bird will never fly."
The mayor added that the chances of his favoured project - a new airport in the Thames Estuary - going ahead "have been boosted" by the delay.
- Copyright: AFPQuote Message: “Businesses will see this as a gutless move by a government that promised a clear decision on a new runway by the end of the year. Business will question whether ministers are delaying critical upgrades to our national infrastructure for legitimate reasons, or to satisfy short-term political interests. Businesses across Britain will be asking whether there is any point in setting up an Airports Commission – or the recently-announced National Infrastructure Commission – if political considerations are always going to trump big decisions in the national interest. The Commission has said that a new runway should be built at Heathrow, and quickly. Expansion at other airports is needed too. Ministers need to stop prevaricating and get on with doing what the country sorely needs.” from John Longworth Director general, British Chambers of Commerce
Ready the government's statement on delaying a decision on airport expansion here.
- Copyright: EPA
London Mayor and ardent opponent of expansion at Heathrow Airport says it makes sense to take a fresh look at the competing proposals.
In typical Boris-esque fashion, he tells Channel 4 news: "It might look like terminal indecision. A lot of people will see this as just more fudge-erama to push a decision beyond the Mayoral elections [next year]." But the Heathrow option is just so weak, it is right to look again in more detail, he says.
- Copyright: PAQuote Message: Business leaders will be tearing their hair out at the news that, yet again, a decision on expanding the UK’s airport capacity has been delayed. Of course this is difficult choice, which is the reason the government set up the Airports Commission to make a recommendation balancing economic needs, environmental concerns and the impact on local residents. We have to ask now, what was the point of the Commission if the Government still fails to act? The Government has set the very ambitious target of increasing UK exports to £1 trillion a year by 2020. If they can’t fly to emerging markets to make deals, our members are going to find it very hard to meet this aspiration. At this stage, IoD members care much more about a decision being made, than whether the new runway is built at Heathrow or Gatwick.” from Simon Walker Director general, Institute of Directors
- Quote Message: The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon. We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met. At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans." from Patrick McLoughlin Secretary of State for Transport
BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed tweets:
- Copyright: Reuters
A final decision on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow airport has been put off until at least the summer "subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures", the Government says.