In recent weeks, I have heard from a number of constituents urging a final decision on airport expansion in the UK.
I have long supported Heathrow Hub for its potential to increase capacity cost-effectively while decreasing road traffic and aircraft noise.
The Airports Commission’s final report was published in the Summer of 2015. It made a strong case for expansion in the South East. The Government has accepted the case for expansion and the Commission’s shortlist of options.
It is vitally important that we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. I understand that all three schemes will continue to be considered: a new runway at Heathrow, an extended northern runway at Heathrow, and a new runway at Gatwick.
The Airports Commission published a large amount of detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their three shortlisted schemes. The Government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.
Ministers must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on the environment and local people. The Department for Transport will now carry out more work on environmental impacts, including on air quality, noise and carbon emission.
Action needs to be taken, but we must get the next steps right in the interest both of those who will benefit from increased airport capacity and those who will be affected by it.
Ministers will push ahead with this work, with the aim of concluding in summer 2016, so that all three options can be considered with time to meet the need for capacity by 2030, as recommended by the Davies Commission.