UKinbound urges government to act fast on Heathrow expansion plans

UKinbound urges government to act fast on Heathrow expansion plans

The government is being urged to show leadership by making a swift decision on a third runway for Heathrow.

The call came from UKinbound amid signals that a final decision on a new runway for the southeast could be delayed for up to six months due to environmental concerns.

Speculation points to prime minister David Cameron waiting until after the London mayoral elections in May despite his pledged to make a decision by the end of this year.

The inbound travel organisation says the need for increased airport capacity is pressing to handle growing tourism numbers.

This came as the Times put its weight behind the expansion of Gatwick to solve Cameron’s political dilemma over airport expansion.

A leader in the newspaper today describes Heathrow as being on “the worst possible place to expand” and even if approval was given, a new runway would be tightly constrained and the airport would soon reach capacity again.

“Gatwick can build a second runway without destroying hundreds of homes or blighting tens of thousands with noise,” the newspaper said. “Building could start in 2019 and finish by 2025, when the southwest is expected to run out of new landing slots.

“There are no ifs or buts about it. Gatwick is the answer not just to Mr Cameron’s looming political nightmare but to Britain’s airport crunch as well.”

However, UKinbound support the recommendation by the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, to expand Heathrow.

Chief executive, Deirdre Wells, said: “At UKinbound we are extremely concerned at the government’s decision to further delay their response to the Davies Commission.

“Inbound visitors to the UK brought £22 billion to our economy last year and over 70% of them came by air.

“Our airport capacity is at breaking point, restricting further growth for this important industry.
“We need the government to show leadership and make a decision by the end of 2015 as originally promised.”

Wells added: “Not only is tourism the UK’s third biggest employer, it is also the seventh highest export earner for the UK, therefore we believe that an investment in our international and domestic connectivity is fundamental to securing long-term economic growth and employment.”

Her comments follow CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, demanding a quick decision on London’s airport expansion.

Meanwhile, Conservative London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, who has threatened to resign as MP for Richmond Park, said he hoped Cameron would announce a thorough environmental review around the cases for expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick.
Goldsmith declared he would not quit as an MP if the prime minister announced what he called a “legitimate delaying exercise”.
“The Volkswagen scandal has changed everything,” the Financial Times quoted Goldsmith as saying, arguing that questions about the reliability of emissions data raised doubts about air quality estimates for Heathrow.


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