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Government pressed on airport expansion decision

05 May 2016 07:49

Heathrow Airport leaders want a third runway

Heathrow Airport leaders want a third runway

"Political dithering" is costing holidaymakers and the British economy dearly, according to a committee of MPs who want a decision on south-east England's new runway.

A final announcement on whether to expand Heathrow Airport or Gatwick was originally due in 2015, but the Government has shelved the decision until environmental impact investigations are carried out.

Members of the Commons' Transport Select Committee want increased airport capacity in the region to help meet demand for air travel in the years ahead.

Impact tests

They say that each month wasted is hurting the British economy, with the g roup's chairwoman Louise Ellman calling on ministers to get a move on.

The Labour MP wants a final decision to be made while environmental tests are carried out.

Ms Ellman says ministers should have ended their "political dithering" last year and accepted the Airports Commission's recommendation to build a third runway at Heathrow.

She says that Britain's reputation as a leading airport provider could be left behind as more than 50 new runways around the globe reach the planning stage.

Rushed decision

But the Government's Department for Transport (DfT) argues that a rushed decision could bring the wrong result.

It says the environmental impact tests are likely to be finished this summer, with the results helping to reduce the effect of the the new runway on local residents.

A statement from Gatwick says that several years of false beginnings and delays can only come to an end by giving Gatwick the go-ahead for expansion.

Meanwhile, a Heathrow spokesman says that all the independent evidence favours that airport for the new runway scheme.

The British Chambers of Commerce's interim director general Adam Marshall says that the business world also wants to see a decision on the new runway fast.

Holidaymakers can take out travel insurance, which can protect against things like lost passports or stolen belongings.