Hoon says no to commons vote on third runway

Heathrow planes Following yesterday’s announcement that the third runway decision will be delayed until next year, transport minister Geoff Hoon has ruled out a commons vote on the issue.

In an exclusive Evening Standard interview, Hoon said the decision he is due to announce in January will be final. He dismissed claims that the Government is losing heart for Heathrow expansion, saying he was “going that extra mile for the extra runway”.

“Obviously, air quality and noise are key concerns of people who live locally,but also in the national interest is the importance of maintaining a hub airport that provides strong competition to Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle and that can develop the capacity to allow the UK to maintain its competitiveness.”

Yesterday’s announcement prompted speculation that the Government was nervous about the decision, and concern among supporters about a loss of momentum. But Hoon told the Standard the only motive for the delay was to give him more time to make the decision.

“I am relatively new in this job and I want to give everyone the confidence that when I review all that evidence, I do so thoroughly and fairly,” he said.

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