Airport expansion to go ahead
Expansion of Heathrow airport has been approved at a cabinet meeting today.
While Downing Street is yet to confirm the decision, the BBC has reported that committee of ministers have given Heathrow expansion the green light.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will make a statement to the House of Commons around lunchtime today.
According to a report by the Davies Commision, led by Sir Howard Davies, a third runway at Heathrow is the best option.
Commenting on the government’s decision to promote Heathrow as the location for a new runway in the South East, Chris Jones, head of transport at Odgers Interim, said: “Political delays will only be the first hurdle for airport expansion.
“Detailed planning for a project on this scale needs an army of skilled executives – and could take years of hard work before a single digger or cement mixer arrives. The first skills shortages will be felt early on when assembling the right project leadership team, which will be exacerbated by the lengthy delays suffered already.
“We have witnessed this before. Over the seven and a half years since High Speed 2 was founded as a company – and before laying a single mile of track – the endeavour has required the expertise of thousands of professionals. It takes rare skills to manage legal challenges, reputational battles and budgets of billions – not to mention the flexibility to respond to high profile resignations. The persistent uncertainty hanging over this project will only make the task of building a credible and experienced team all the more challenging.”
Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “Today’s progress towards expanding Heathrow is welcome, but we must not let airport expansion become a binary choice between two feuding airports. London would benefit culturally and economically from airport expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick, and the new government should have the courage to rise above politics and add runways to both. It is time to put the needs of London and the UK ahead of short-term political concerns and make this investment. A global tech hub requires unrivalled international transport links, and London’s airport capacity has a long way to go to meet this target.”