The government will decide whether to accept the Airports Commission’s recommendation for a third Heathrow runway by November, aviation minister Robert Goodwill has confirmed.
Goodwill told Travel Weekly: “The secretary of state [for transport] has made very clear we will make a decision in the autumn, and by that he means autumn 2015, not 2016.”
The commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, published its report on July 1. Goodwill said: “We did not get to see Sir Howard’s report in advance so it’s right we should analyse his conclusions and some of the evidence. We need to look at all aspects.
“There is the recommendation of a third runway at Heathrow, but also of a ban on night flights and a new noise commissioner. This is a package of measures and one doesn’t work without the others.
“But the government is clear it needs to make a decision.”
He dismissed a suggestion by former transport secretary Lord Adonis that the government would delay a decision. Adonis told an aviation industry conference last week:
“The ‘autumn’ is flexible. It could last well into next year, to the spring or after next year’s London Mayoral election” (Travel Weekly, July 9). Goodwill insisted: “The autumn is September-October-November in my view.”
The aviation minister, tourism minister Tracey Crouch and an all-party group of MPs met leaders of Abta, the Association of Airport Operators, UKinbound and the Tourism Alliance this week for private talks.
UKinbound chief executive Deirdre Wells said: “We hope for an early decision on the Airports Commission. There is definitely a mood to get on with it.”
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