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14 DECEMBER 2015

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Article from BTNews 14 DECEMBER 2015

Arguments rage over runway

The debate over a new runway for south-east England boiled over last week after business leaders accused the government of playing politics with the issue by delaying further a decision on where to build the facility.

David Cameron had promised to say by the end of the year whether he backed a £23bn runway at Heathrow after an independent review named it as the preferred location.

But the government said on Thursday it needed more information on the environmental impact, and suggested it would make the announcement next summer – which is after the London mayoral election in May, where the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith and the current mayor Boris Johnson both oppose the Heathrow plan.

Environmentalists and voters in areas around Heathrow and the alternative option of Gatwick are also against.

However, Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (a a former BA PR Director), said the business community would be “tearing their hair out” that a decision had been delayed again.

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin responded in a statement saying: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.”  www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport

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