Ministers were today urged to stop “years of political dithering” and give go ahead for third runway at Heathrow.
Following the Airports Commission report backing a third runway at Heathrow Airport, Ministers have been urged to give the go ahead after a report issued by the Commons Transport Committee claim arguments over the expansion have changed little in 25 years.
A Commons Select Committee has said that the government must stop putting off the decision to expand Heathrow Airport rather than Gatwick, and that the delayed decision has “squandered the opportunity” to act on evidence.
The committee has demanded that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, make clear what the outstanding areas of contention are, describing ministerial claims of progress in the decision process as “illusory”.
In December the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that the Airport Commission’s shortlisted options – new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow – were “viable”. However, they announced further works on noise, pollution and compensation, would be carried out before a decision on which project to support was made.
Labour MP Louise Ellman, Chairwoman of the Committee, said: “The government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one.
“Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.”
With over 50 new runways being planned around the world, she said that “the months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK’s economic prosperity”.
Defending their decision, a DfT spokesman said: “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.
“As well as progressing the package of further work announced in December, the Government will continue to consider the commission’s evidence before reaching a view on its preferred scheme.”