|Government Confirms It Still Plans To Expand Heathrow|
Transport Secretary says there will be a vote in Commons in first half of next year
Plane landing at Heathrow. Picture: Ian Wylie
The Government has dashed hopes that its thin majority may have put paid to plans to build a third runway at Heathrow by announcing its intention to proceed next year.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said that an airports national policy statement (NPS) will be put to a vote in the House of Commons in the first half of 2018, later than the original plan to do so this winter which was their intention before the election.
The minister said that the building of the new runway was critical for Britain in a post-Brexit trading environment.
Mr Grayling said, “The timing of the election, in particular the need to re-start a select committee inquiry into the draft airports national policy statement means we now expect to lay any final NPS in parliament in the first half of 2018, for a vote in the House of Commons.”
Campaigners had hoped the failure to mention the project in the Queen’s Speech meant that it had fallen down the Government’s list of priorities but the minister said its absence was because no primary legislation was required.
He added, “This government is fully committed to realising the benefits that a new north-west runway at Heathrow would bring, in terms of economic growth, boosting jobs and skills, strengthening domestic links and - critically - increasing and developing our international connectivity as we prepare to leave the European Union.”
Parmjit Dhanda, Back Heathrow’s Executive Director, said: “It’s great news that the Government has reaffirmed its support for expanding Heathrow. A new runway at the UK’s biggest port is crucial as we look to navigate Brexit and create a bright, prosperous future outside of the European Union.
Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said, “Postponing this decision once again shows that the Government are worried not only about losing a parliamentary vote, but also that their aviation strategy will simply be in tatters.