Airport decision: what happens next?November 4, 2016
London First has enthusiastically welcomed the government’s announcement backing a new runway at Heathrow airport. This decision sends a message to business that the government has heeded calls for improved and increased international air links.
We were active in the build-up and on the day of the announcement. Our chairman John Allan was on the Dermot Murnaghan Show on Sky News on Sunday; while Matt Hill appeared on BBC’s Sunday Politics and the Victoria Derbyshire show.
There was further appearances on BBC London News from David Leam to talk about the decision and what happens next. Overall the coverage amounted to 7 million viewers.
Now that a decision has been made, the debate must shift to how we ensure the Heathrow runway is constructed swiftly, and that the proposed mitigation measures are implemented to ensure minimal impact on the local community.
London First has long campaigned for a decision to be taken, in recent years making a submission to the Airports Commission in 2013 as part of its three year consultation and initiating the Let Britain Fly campaign to call for cross-party support for airport expansion. Since the Airports Commission first made its recommendation to expand Heathrow in July 2015 we have stepped up our calls on behalf of the business community for a clear and final decision from government.
Over the coming year, government will consult both parliament and the public on a National Policy Statement (NPS), with a vote in the Commons on the final Statement expected in 2017/18. This is in line with the established process for obtaining planning permission for a major infrastructure project. London First will keep up the pressure on government during this time and continue to champion airport expansion to ensure there are no further delays on this crucial issue.
However, the government shouldn’t stop here. We need to improve rail links to all our airports, make better use of our airspace to reduce delays and improve the experience for travellers at our borders. Most importantly, other airports with strong cases for expansion should be able to come forward with proposals for future growth in a more timely and functional way than in the past.
We would like to say a big thank you to all of our members for their support in maintaining pressure on government to act.
Over the coming months London First will be working with our members to ensure these commitments are translated into action on the ground.
Contact David Leam, email@example.com