The Prime Minister has confirmed that there will be no plans for a third runway at Heathrow in this Parliament, honouring his pledge in the Conservative manifesto.
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, the Prime Minister said: “Let me say clearly that, while I believe that we need to establish a form of review that will bring parties together and make a decision about airport capacity, I will not break my manifesto pledge.”
The new Transport Secretary set out the remit of the review, which will examine all available options, including the so-called “Boris Island” proposal for a new hub airport in the Thames estuary.
In a written statement to Parliament, he said: “Today the UK is amongst the best connected countries in the world. Our airports, particularly those in the South East, deliver direct flights to over 360 destinations, including those of greatest economic importance. London has more flights to more destinations than any other city in Europe. More flights to the important trading centres like New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The Government is determined to deliver a solution which will continue to provide that connectivity in the short, medium and longer term.
“Successive Governments have sought to develop a credible long term aviation policy to meet the international connectivity needs of the UK. In each case the policy has failed for want of trust in the process, consensus on the evidence upon which the policy was based and the difficulty of sustaining a challenging long term policy through a change of Government. The country cannot afford for this failure to continue.
“The Government has asked Sir Howard Davies to chair an independent Commission tasked with identifying and recommending to Government options for maintaining this country’s status as an international hub for aviation.”
The Commission will produce a final report in the summer of 2015 for consideration by whatever government is formed in the next Parliament.
The full statement can be read here.