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The UK Government has today announced a delay until at least next summer for the question of airport expansion in the UK in a move that has been described as “cowardly” by business leaders.
The decision on a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick has been passed around by governments like a baton with none seemingly wanting to make the decision resulting in delay after delay whilst the UK’s biggest hubs continue to run at near capacity.
Following a report by Sir Howard Davies earlier this year which controversially recommended Heathrow expansion over Gatwick a decision was expected by the end of 2015 however David Cameron has said that further environmental impact studies need to be undertaken, he has also stated that Gatwick is still in the running.
Despite the report, many industry experts still maintain Gatwick is the sensible choice given the already congested airspace around Heathrow so the delay could be seen as hope for those backing Gatwick’s second runway.
The Heathrow plan would involve the destruction of the villages of Harmondsworth, Sipson and Longford around the north of Heathrow.
John Longworth, director general at the BCC said “Businesses will see this as a gutless move by a government that promised a clear decision on a new runway by the end of the year, Ministers need to stop prevaricating and get on with doing what the country sorely needs”
Whilst the Institute of Directors said business leaders would be “tearing their hair out” with frustration.
Conservative London Mayor candidate Zac Goldsmith, who has threatened to resign if Heathrow is chosen, stated that “Gatwick stands ready to deliver it sooner, at a lower public expense and without the damaging impact of Heathrow expansion.”