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Airport capacity plans to be decided

By Andrew Woodcock

Ministers will set out the Government's "direction" on plans for more airport capacity in the south-east of England by the end of the year, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokeswoman has confirmed.

With only a matter of weeks remaining before the deadline set by Mr Cameron for the official response to the Davies Commission report, speculation is rife over whether ministers will back the report's recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow.

After the report's publication in July, Mr Cameron said he could "guarantee" that "a decision will be made by the end of the year".

Asked at a regular Westminster media briefing whether a date had been set for the announcement, the PM's spokeswoman said: "The position remains absolutely the same, which is that we will set out the direction on plans by the end of the year."

The spokeswoman rejected that her comment amounted to watering down Mr Cameron's promise of a "decision", pointing out that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told MPs at the time of the report's publication that he would come back later in the year to provide "clear direction on the Government's plans".

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