Airport Expansion Bids
Runway: ‘Further Delays’
27th January 2016 – Crawley Observer
Transport Secretary Patrick Mcloughlin
A final decision on a new runway for the South East of England could be further delayed by the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, Transport Secretary Patrick Mcloughlin has hinted.
Mr Mcloughlin said he hoped the Government would finally make its choice between expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick by the summer, but added that the referendum was one of a number of issues competing for ministers’ attention in the months ahead.
Speaking to LBC radio, the Transport Secretary denied that last year’s postponement of the runway decision was designed to delay the contentious verdict until after the election of the new London mayor in May.
Asked when the issue would finally be resolved, Mr Mcloughlin said: “I hope later this year. We have said we would hope to move some way by the summer of this year.” But he added: “There’s lots of other things which are going on in the political spectrum – if there’s a referendum this summer, and the like.
“But I would hope by the summer of this year we will be able to make progress.” A decision on a possible third runway at Heathrow was deferred last month after ministers decided more work was needed on its impact on air quality, noise and carbon emissions.
Mr Mcloughlin insisted that the upcoming mayoral election “didn’t have any bearing” on the decision, pointing out that ministers had known of Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith’s opposition to a third runway for some time.