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Government wrong to rule out growth at Heathrow

“Heathrow runway three is the most credible option to meet London’s urgent need for more international flights and Government is wrong to rule it out of its aviation review” – just one of the findings in a report launched today by a commission put together by business group, London First, to look at London’s transport links to the UK and the rest of the world.

Chaired by Peter Robinson, Chairman of Berwin Leighton Paisner, the year-long commission considered how best to maintain and improve London’s transport links with the UK and the rest of the world, to support future economic growth.

The report, London, Britain and the world: Transport links for economic growth, examines the capital’s road, rail and air links, and the results of decades of short term thinking and instability in transport policy – increasing costs on the railways, congested roads, and no credible aviation policy.

It makes a number of practical recommendations over the short medium and long term, including:

  • Considering all options for increasing capacity at Heathrow, including a third runway and allowing planes to land and take-off concurrently on both runways.
  • Considering all viable options for meeting the UK’s long-term need for further hub airport capacity, including a new airport.
  • The development of a charging system to cut congestion on roads – particularly during peak times.
  • Ending unsustainable fare rises by increasing efficiencies in the rail industry. Government must also reconsider the allocation of its subsidy to ensure public money is being spent on projects which give the best economic growth.
  • A greater focus on the way road, rail and air infrastructure links together – so that passengers’ journeys can be improved when transferring from air to rail or road.

Peter Robinson, Chairman of the Connectivity Commission, said:
“Significant improvement is needed in London’s connectivity to emerging international markets as well as to the rest of the UK – but this can be achieved if Government grasps the severity of the problem. Government must prioritise investment in transport that contributes most to economic growth and look seriously at how we plan, finance and deliver the infrastructure we need.”

Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:
“Government needs urgently to get to grips with the growing pressures on our transport infrastructure – particularly our vital air links. Rather than kicking politically difficult solutions into the long grass it should consider all options and look at what is best for the UK’s prosperity. It could be viewed as negligent of Government to make such an important decision on purely political grounds. A third runway at Heathrow should be ruled back into the options.”


For further information, please contact: Emma Apter on 020 7665 1427 / 07535977004

Notes to editors

Electronic copies of London, Britain and the world: Transport links for economic growth can be found via the following links:

Full Report

Executive summary

The Commission took written evidence from 40 parties, held witness hearings with 20 key individuals and sought the views of a reference group of practitioners and experts. Detailed discussions were held with more than 70 London First members and stakeholders throughout the process.

The commissioners are:

  • Peter Robinson – Chairman of the commission; Chairman, Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Sir Adrian Montague CBE; Chairman, 3i
  • John Vincent; Director of Strategic Planning and Advisory, AECOM
  • Chris Elliot; Managing Director, Barclays Infrastructure Funds
  • Peter Damesick; Executive Director – EMEA Chief Economist, CBRE Limited
  • Mike Redican; Managing Director, Deutsche Bank
  • Andy Street; Managing Director, John Lewis
  • Francis Salway; Group Chief Executive, Land Securities
  • Ruby Parmar; Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

London First is a business membership organisation with a mission to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.

London First delivers its activities with the support of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes further education colleges and all of London’s universities. London First members represent over a quarter of London’s GDP.

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