Government ministers have agreed to the development of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (October 25) the government has given the green light for the expansion of capacity at Heathrow Airport by adding a third runway.
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary commented that the development would enhance the UK’s networks with the rest of the world and branded the result as “truly momentous”.
However, it is likely to be a further four or five years before any construction commences at Heathrow and at least 2025 before the runway could be completed.
In the next couple of months, the Government will launch a public consultation on the local impacts of its decision, which will be followed by a national policy statement on aviation. The latter will have to be ratified by parliamentary vote, either in late 2017 or 2018.
Four local authorities, with support from Greenpeace, have confirmed they will mount a legal challenge, while environmental lawyers, Client Earth, are also set to challenge the process.
Industry reaction to third Heathrow runway
The Heathrow extension plan has been well received by unions and business groups alike. Frances O’Grady, general secretary of TUC, said it was “absolutely vital for Britain”.
Paul Drechsler CBE, CBI President, said: “The Prime Minister’s green light to expand the UK’s aviation capacity comes as an enormous relief to firms in every corner of the country.
“A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news, especially as the country has waited nearly 50 years for this decision. It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focussed firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets.
“With contracts to tender for, apprentices to recruit and supply chains to build, this decision must be taken forward swiftly, giving businesses the confidence to invest. Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it’s crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible to reap the benefits for jobs and growth, precisely when the country needs them most.
“This project should form part of a long-term framework for aviation capacity for the whole of the UK. Pressing ahead with key infrastructure projects like this will provide not only a welcome economic stimulus, but will show the world that we are well and truly open for business as we negotiate our exit from the EU.”
Terry Scuoler, EEF CEO, also praised the expansion. He said: “Giving the green light to Heathrow expansion is the right one for industry and the country. Heathrow will be a key linchpin in enabling post-Brexit trade and this decision provides reassurance to manufacturers that access to direct, efficient and cost-effective trade routes to the rest of the world will be backed by action and not just words.
“While the debate on extra airport capacity has understandably been finely focussed on a decision to allow expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick, the important role aviation plays more generally in supporting Britain’s global trade status has been side-lined. This crucial role should not be overlooked.
As local areas across the country gear up to take on more powers as part of devolution, improving surface access to regional airports should be an early priority to maximise the regional connectivity benefits from today’s decision.”
In EEF’s most recent survey of manufacturers, 78% of companies expressed a preference for expansion at Heathrow.