Industry responds to vote in favour of Heathrow expansion

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heathrow expansion

A recent vote in the House of Commons has allowed MPs across the board to support controversial plans to expand Heathrow airport by building a third runway

The government secured a majority with 415 votes to 119 in favour of the Heathrow expansion.

The Conservatives were urged to back the plans, while Labour’s official position was to oppose the expansion.

Welcoming the Heathrow expansion is “premier business organisation”, CBI.

The Director-General of CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, said:

“Fifty years in the making, this is a truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships.

“Parliament’s approval to build the new runway at Heathrow will lift prosperity across the country, and has long been seen as vital for firms, especially exporters.

“The race for global competitiveness well underway and the UK must now be quick off the mark – work on the new runway should start as soon as possible. the prize is tens of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of growth for the British economy.

“As the UK forges a new path to trade, we must also make the best us of existing runways in regions across the country. a truly global Britain will need increased connections and routes from the whole of the UK, now and for the future.”

Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. The CBI’s corporate members together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of private sector employees.

Further industry encouragement comes from professional services firm, WYG.

Rajiv Sudan, Business Development Director at WYG added:

“We welcome and are encouraged by the recent announcement by Government to progress with Heathrow’s expansion plans and the building of a third runway.

“This is hugely positive for the construction sector and the UK at large – especially in light of Heathrow’s commitment to regional logistics hubs ensuring the whole of the country benefits from this investment.

“The Government now needs to give similar unequivocal backing and funding to other key projects such Crossrail 2 and the redevelopment of Old Oak and Park Royal. 2018 has been designated the Year of Engineering – what better way to recognise this than to commit to a pipeline of infrastructure projects that will transform the UK in terms of competitiveness and social responsibility.”

However, despite agreeing with the benefits that the Heathrow expansion will bring, Mathew Riley, Managing Director at Ramboll UK, shared his concerns over government power in making vital decisions that impact UK infrastructure:

“Whilst this is good news for the economy and our industry, the reality is that is has taken successive governments 20 years to make a decision, and we still have the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn saying he may reverse this decision if Labour form the next government.

“This whole process serves to demonstrate why politics alone cannot be allowed to dictate the fundamental needs of critical infrastructure in the UK.

“The National Infrastructure Commission need to be given more power to influence long term plans, as the current approach provides little reassurance to investors, who we will rely on to finance these investments.

“Going forward, it is essential that the government now provide full and consistent backing for this important addition to UK infrastructure.”

Although the vote shows promise for the Heathrow expansion, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling stated in the Commons that the vote does not give planning permission to the project, but permits work to continue on its development.

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