Forwarder frustration as UK runway decision ‘delayed’
08 / 12 / 2015
The UK’s main trade association for freight forwarders and logistics service providers said it was frustrated at reports that a decision on expanding UK south east airport capacity could be delayed for another six months.
The British International Freight Association (BIFA) called on Prime Minister David Cameron to have a rethink on further delays to choosing between a third runway for Heathrow or a second one at Gatwick.
BIFA director general, Robert Keen, said: “If reports are to be believed, this latest possible delay is due to environmental and political issues.
“Whilst I understand the pressures that David Cameron is facing from many senior figures in his own party over the latter, it is difficult to believe that the Airports Commission did not cover all the bases on the former.”
“I understand that there will not be an official announcement about the decision to delay the announcement until Thursday this week after the meeting of the Parliament’s Economic and Domestic Cabinet sub-committee ─ which is chaired by David Cameron.
“If the news of a delay is correct, I would urge the Prime Minister to follow the lead taken by his colleague, George Osborne, who did a U-turn on tax credit cuts and reverse his opinion about the need to delay the decision.”
Keen also criticised the “lack of vision” of successive UK governments in the face of a massive surge in air transport and resulting pressure on airports in south east England.
Meanwhile, Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the UK business association the CBI said: “Now is the time for real leadership on expanding the UK’s aviation capacity. A decision from the Government to commit to delivering a new runway will provide an enormous boost to Britain’s workers, makers and exporters.
“After three years of evidence gathering and a decisive report from the Airports Commission, businesses want to see Government maintain the positive momentum this has delivered, by making a clear decision with a timetable for action.
“Failure to have a new runway up and running by 2030 will cost the UK as much as £5.3 billion a year in lost trade to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries alone.”
Options for expansion by the Airports Commission include new runways for Heathrow and/or Gatwick airport or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister’s own Airports Commission confirmed in July that expanding Heathrow would have the biggest economic benefits for the UK and can be done while reducing noise for local communities and within EU air quality limits.
“We’re confident in our new plan. And what Britain needs now is certainty from Government – let’s get on and build a better future.”