Business leaders have urged the Prime Minister to decide where a new runway will be built now, instead of delaying until a new Prime Minister is chosen.
Over 50 business leaders, including John Allan, chairman of Tesco, and Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, have signed a letter to The Times saying that a decision on a runway would “send a message to the world that Britain remains open for business”, despite the vote to leave the EU.
Certainly, easier and better connections to global markets will be more important to trade now, as it is likely barriers to international trade will rise.
Heathrow released a statement on June 24th saying: “With today’s result, the case for expansion at Heathrow is stronger than ever before. Only Heathrow can help Britain be the great trading nation connecting all regions of the UK to the world. It is the keystone that connects businesses of every size to markets across the world as the UK’s only global hub airport.”
The Airport has also released new polling by ComRes that says MPs across Parliament see Heathrow expansion as the most important infrastructure project for the future of the UK economy.
MPs also ranked Heathrow expansion as the top infrastructure project for spreading growth across Britain – ahead of HS2. The findings reveal a fear amongst MPs that at a time when the country needs to unite, regional growth could be undermined if Heathrow isn’t given the green light to expand.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “At an uncertain time for the British economy, MPs recognise that Heathrow is a private sector infrastructure project that will spread growth across Britain from the moment that we get a green light.
“Now more than ever, people across Britain are counting on the Government to take bold decisions that show we are a confident outward looking trading nation. MPs are clear that expanding Heathrow will help secure Britain’s long-term economic future.
“Heathrow is the right choice for a stronger Britain.”
The Brexit vote and subsequent political chaos has prompted speculation that a decision on a new runway will be delayed or possibly cancelled altogether. Certainly one of the leading candidates for Prime Minister, Boris Johnson MP, is known to favour building a new airport altogether, a process which might be eased by the rolling back of EU legislation binding the UK to protect the habitat of hundreds of thousands of birds using the Thames Estuary. Should the decision fall to him, it would take one of the most spectacular political about-turns ever to see another runway at Heathrow.
It is understood that the Government had been ready to approve expansion at Heathrow on or around July 7 this year, with the Department of Transport having satisfied themselves that the Airport’s recent pledges on pollution and noise, including a ban on night flights, would satisfy their conditions.
Ironically some of those conditions have their origins in EU air quality legislation, which of course will no longer apply once the UK leaves the EU. Without them, the expansion decision might have been taken in 2015, after Sir Howard Davies published his report.