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Tue April 13 2021

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Haulage industry pushes for Heathrow

11 Jun 15 News yesterday that the government is set to defer any decision on future runway capacity in the southeast of England until 2016 has been greeted with dismay by industry groups.

FTA favours Heathrow expansion
FTA favours Heathrow expansion

As we reported yesterday (10 June 2015), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said the delay risked damaging British businesses.

Now the haulage industry is also urging the government to put more urgency into its decision but also specifically insists that it must choose Heathrow over Gatwick.

A report in yesterday’s Financial Times indicated that it had been briefed by anonymous ‘Whitehall sources’ that when Sir Howard Davies delivers his final recommendations on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick, the government’s response will be merely to acknowledge receipt. No decision will be taken before the end of the year. [See our previous report here.]

The Davies Commission has spent three years studying how best to meet future aviation demand in southeast England. The final shortlist comes down to a second runway at Gatwick, a completely new third runway at Heathrow or lengthening Heathrow’s northern runway and splitting it into two.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has told the government that any delay in a decision on airport expansion would damage the freight industry. It said that Heathrow is a critical hub for air cargo and must be allowed to expand.

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FTA chief executive David Wells wrote to David Cameron last week and warned him that the decline of Heathrow as a viable global cargo hub would increase freight and logistics costs across the UK.

“Eighty per cent of freight is carried in the holds of scheduled passenger aircraft using Heathrow airport. Gatwick does not possess the infrastructure to handle the volumes of cargo required,” he said.

He added: “Air cargo is vital to the UK economy and increased transport costs will inevitably be passed on to the consumer. It’s disappointing to hear that there will be no announcement until the end of the year.  This is further evidence that the importance of air freight is being overlooked and we would urge the government to reconsider."

Meanwhile it has also emerged this week that Heathrow and Gatwick airports have spent £1.7m and £1.6m respectively on their runway expansion advertising campaigns across the London transport network. This is not including all the newspaper campaigns and other advertising, marketing and lobbying that they have been doing.

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