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Business leaders welcome Airports Commission recommendations

02 Jul 2015

IoD urges all parties to back findings and get building 

After waiting for three years, business leaders reacted positively to the final report of the Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, which recommends building a third runway at Heathrow to create  new routes to foreign markets, benefit passengers, and boost the economy.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute Of Directors, said:

“The IoD warmly welcomes the Airports Commission’s recommendation to expand Heathrow. There is a clear business case for a new runway, with only 3% of our members believing that our current airport infrastructure is sufficient to ensure the UK’s long-term economic growth. Access to markets overseas is absolutely vital for firms to trade, with 75% of our members, many of whom run small or medium-sized companies, having flown for business in the last year. 40% of members expect to fly ‘much more’ for business in the future, and particularly need the links to emerging economies which expanding Heathrow would create.

“When asked to choose which of London’s major airports should get a new runway, 61% of IoD members chose Heathrow, compared to 39% who chose Gatwick. The Airports Commission has recommended strong environmental and noise protections at Heathrow, and believes expansion can bring economic benefits while limiting the impact on those living nearby. The report recognises that there is also a good case for a second runway at Gatwick, which would help promote competition, and this should be kept as an option for the future.

“This is the issue that has been kicked down the road time and again, but there can now be no further delay from politicians. Sir Howard has left the government with no excuse to put off this vital decision again, and if ministers do not proceed with all possible speed it will send a clear signal that the UK is not interested in being a modern, outward-looking, trading nation.

“The Government should move quickly to produce a National Policy Statement or a Hybrid Bill to enable construction to start at Heathrow. Parliament will have to approve any plans, so we call on all parties to recognise the vital national need for airport expansion and lend their support.

“If the Government chooses to use the National Policy Statement route, the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project system provides for a final decision in under 18 months from it being accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, and we do not want it to take any longer than that. The Government should also make clear that Heathrow will receive only the minimum possible public subsidy.”

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