Further delay on Heathrow decision will hit investment, warns FTA

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is warning the Government that further delay in a decision on a third runway at Heathrow will be damaging.

The expansion plan for Heathrow airport in the south east has been delayed by six months whilst further consultation takes place. The FTA urged the government to make a quick decision, as delays will damage the UK's international reputation and discourage investment overseas.

In July, the long awaited Davies Commission report concluded that Heathrow was the best option because of then economic benefit to the whole country.

Approximately 40% of Britain's imports and exports are dependent on air freight.

Chris Welsh, FTA's Director of Global and European Policy, said: "Worse still, as the Government dithers, is the damage done to our international reputation and the signal it sends overseas investors who are likely to question the UK's capability to invest in vital infrastructure required to maintain and enhance the UK's connectivity".

Government interventions play a big part in attaining good connectivity and efficient logistics and contribute greatly in the nation's ability to compete in the global economy.

In 2014, the FTA commissioned its own report focusing on the importance or air freight in the UK economy, which confirmed Heathrow as a vital hub for air cargo, offering 191 destinations and moving 1.5 million tonnes of freight annually.

The airport is currently operating at a 98% capacity.

Heathrow announced plans last month to invest £180M in its cargo facilities, as the FTA  say that a third run way is crucial to enable the airport to remain competitive.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) echoed the FTA as Director General, Nick Baveystock, said: "Government commissioned a comprehensive review to establish the best expansion option for the UK, and this resulted in a clear recommendation. It is right that Heathrow responds to the Commission's recommendation for a package of measures to address its environmental impacts, but this does not warrant a delay in government's decision. What was needed was a bold, strategic decision on the country's future hub capacity. Disappointingly we now face yet more delay and uncertainty."


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