London runway decision ‘soon’
03 / 10 / 2016
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said that a decision on south-east England airport expansion is imminent, according to the BBC.
The Government has been pondering whether to build a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick or to extend one of Heathrow’s two existing runways. A decision appeared to be imminent last summer after the Davies Commission recommended going ahead with a third Heathrow runway but the Government stalled, calling for further environmental studies in December and then putting off a decision again in July this year following the country’s referendum vote to leave the European Union.
Mr Grayling told the BBC that all the proposals were “very interesting” and had all “got great potential”, adding: "You will get an announcement shortly. We haven’t taken the decision yet."
He did not rule out granting a free vote to Conservative MPs on the issue.
Airport expansion is a bitterly divisive issue for politicians. Many leading Conservative politicians are strongly opposed to plans to add a third runway at Heathrow, including high profile names such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile, campaign groups and industry stepped up their activity ahead of an expected decision. Environmental activists staged a ‘die in’ protest at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 on 2 October.
Engineering group Bechtel said it had signed a strategic partnership with Gatwick Airport to deliver its second runway. It described the scheme as “low risk” and deliverable by 2025.
Bechtel said it had been working with the Airport for the past two years to develop a robust delivery programme, execution plan and logistics strategy to support the project.
Bechtel would project-manage Gatwick’s second runway programme, should the airport be selected for expansion.