Business pushes for quick UK decision on runway capacity
06 / 07 / 2016
The president of the UK’s largest business group, the CBI, will call on the British government to make a swift decision on new runway capacity in the south east of England.
In a wide-ranging speech at The Infrastructure Forum’s policy summit in London, CBI president Paul Drechsler will say: “A decision on a new runway must be your top domestic priority. Bar none.”
Drechsler wants the UK government and its still to be nominated new Prime Minister to deliver “strong, calm and decisive leadership on infrastructure decisions”, especially in light of the ‘Brexit’ vote to leave the European Union.
Although due to give the speech tomorrow (Thursday), the CBI has released key aspects of the presentation in advance, including those set to be made on increasing the UK’s aviation capacity. They echo comments made by the CBI soon after the Brexit decision was known.
Drechsler will remind ministers that the independent Airports Commission recommended that Heathrow be allowed to build a third runway, although the government has again put back making a decision on this until this coming October, at the earliest.
In order to meet government concerns expressed after publication of the Airports Commission’s report, Heathrow has made a number of concessions on flight curfews, aircraft noise and lower carbon emissions. However, Heathrow still faces a tough challenge from Gatwick Airport, which argues that a second runway there would be cheaper and quicker to deliver than its larger rival.
Drechsler will state: “Make this your starting point. We cannot go back to the drawing board – again. We cannot afford to be put on hold – again. Take action, make a plan, and let’s get on with it.”
Adding: “Building a new runway in the South East is a key decision for the long-term future of our economy and country.
“Let’s be clear – in the aftermath of Brexit, the world won’t wait for us. Other countries don’t care about our excuses. The competition is hungry and more than willing to take advantage of our weakness.“While we’re staring at the departures board, airports in France, Germany and the Netherlands are all building routes with emerging markets.”
Drechsler willstate: “If the UK doesn’t act now, we could lose out on over £30bn in trade by 2030 with the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies alone. Meanwhile, our loss would be our European rivals’ gain. Of the £30bn of trade with BRICs we’d miss out on by 2030, £15bn would go to Germany, and £7.5bn would go to France.
“It’s more important than ever to reassure Britain’s workers, makers, exporters and investors that the UK is open for business.”