This week, UK MPs have debated and returned with a thumbs-up for the controversial third runway project at London’s Heathrow Airport.
In a vote in the House of Commons, 415 aye’s had it against 119 nay’s, and the majority of 296 votes will move the project closer to reality. However, MPs are already coming out in support of Sadiq Khan’s plan to mount a legal challenge to the decision.
Construction industry professionals have also cautiously applauded the result, noting that the debate has been ongoing for almost 20 years through successive governments, and that the next government could easily overturn the decision. Open criticism of the vote itself has been given, with a point made that ‘the whole process serves to demonstrate why politics alone cannot be allowed to dictate the fundamental needs of critical infrastructure in the UK.’
There is strong support too, within the aviation industry. Luton Airport’s CEO, Mr Nick Barton said, ‘The House of Commons’ approval of the Heathrow third runway is a welcome sign of the government’s commitment to providing much needed aviation capacity in the South East.’ Karen Dee of the UK’s Airport Operators Association is also pleased with the result, saying ‘A global Britain requires connectivity to both established and emerging markets right across the country and thus needs both world-class hub and point-to-point capacity. Parliament has today recognised the importance of aviation connectivity and its approval of the Airports NPS for a north-west runway at Heathrow is an important step towards delivering that connectivity.’
Thoughts are now turning to the aviation industry in the near future, with Ms Dee voicing her concerns about the next steps, ‘It is now vital that the government delivers an Aviation Strategy which sets out a clear and positive framework for aviation growth across the UK.’
Executives at Heathrow Airport are understandably delighted with the vote result, and now plan to apply for development consent.