Freight News, Air

Transport Committee comes out in favour of Heathrow Runway Three

[ March 23, 2018   //   ]

The Transport Select Committee’s report on the Airports National Policy Statement published on 23 March, which endorsed building a third runway at Heathrow Airport, met with general approval from business and the airfreight industry.

Chris Richards, Head of Business Environment at manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said the report was “a good sign of progress in getting a new runway built. As a global freight hub handling over 35% of non-EU exports by value, Heathrow will be a key linchpin in enabling post-Brexit manufacturing trade.

However, in placing conditions on surface access to the airport the Government should factor in the difference between passengers and freight and the latter’s inevitable dependence on road transport. Placing a blanket ban on growth in surface access without recognising the unique needs of freight would undermine the export opportunities that an expanded Heathrow will offer.”

Neil Carberry, managing director for infrastructure and people at UK business organisation, CBI said: “Improving the UK’s infrastructure really has to be at the heart of our industrial strategy, if it is to have the desired effect of giving the British economy a shot in the arm. With the new global links that it will bring, and the opportunity to unlock jobs right across the UK, getting on with building the third runway at Heathrow is a vital part of this equation.”

He added that it was now critical that the National Policy Statement is finalised and approved by Parliament by the summer to allow construction to begin by 2020, and a new runway to be operational before 2030.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also welcomed the report, but saying it was the right location to expand airport capacity, but warned that guarantees were needed on how costs will be managed. It said that Heathrow airport charges are the highest in the world, and that any expansion of the airport must be accompanied by a commitment that charges will not rise from the current level.

Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said it was an important step towards delivering expanding the UK’s airport capacity and securing the UK’s long-term prosperity in a global economy.

Now, he added: “The Government needs to deliver on its commitment to give the UK the infrastructure it desperately needs, and that means ensuring a new third runway at Heathrow can finally get off the ground this year.

“Today’s call by MPs for Parliament to approve the airports statement subject to some additional safeguards removes an important barrier to doing so. There now can be no excuse for not having a parliamentary vote on expanding Heathrow by the Summer, as I’ve previously called for.”



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