|Demand Made to Speed Up Davies Commission|
Cross-Party Letter sent to Transport Secretary
MPs, peers and campaign groups have joined with the leaders of nine local authorities to call on the Government to bring forward the publication date of the final report of the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies. They have written a joint letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughin asking for the report to be published well before the 2015 General Election. The scheduled date for publication is currently July 2015, two months after the Election. They are also calling on Sir Howard Davies in his interim report, due by the end of this year, to “lay out very clearly the direction of his thinking.”
The letter, delivered to the Department for Transport today, has been signed by MPs and peers from all three main political parties as well as the leaders of Labour and Conservative local authorities.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, one of the signatories of the letter, said, “There is unity across the political spectrum that the publication of the Davies Report should be brought forward. There is support for what Sir Howard Davies is doing but a strong feeling that the electorate should know what his proposals are well before the next General Election.”
The letter reads thus:
"We welcome the broad thrust of the Davies Commission and the desire to achieve a political consensus that will result in an enduring long-term decision about the UK’s aviation infrastructure.
"We are particularly pleased that the Davies Commission will be adopting a sensible approach by looking at wider topics such as future demand, climate change and noise issues and not just selecting airports where expansion should take place.
"It is vital that the Commission takes a view of the wider economic and environmental costs and benefits of aviation and we will be seeking to provide the Commission with robust evidence on these issues. We look forward to constructive engagement with Sir Howard Davies, his commissioners and staff over the coming months.
"However, we do have concerns around the length of time before the Commission makes their final report. We argue that such a lengthy period of uncertainty is not at all helpful to businesses seeking to make investment decisions or indeed the wider economy of the UK.
"Whilst we recognise the political sensitivities surrounding aviation policy, we believe that the electorate and particularly the residents of West London deserve to know what implications the Commission’s recommendations will have on their lives. Consequently, we the undersigned call upon the Government to bring forward the final report of the Davies Commission to a date before the General Election in 2015 and to ask Sir Howard to lay out very clearly the direction of his thinking in his interim report at the end of this year.
Zac Goldsmith MP
February 15, 2013