Belfast Telegraph

Heathrow boss says third runway will help British economy in face of Brexit

The boss of Heathrow has claimed that the result of the EU referendum has strengthened the case for expansion at the airport.

A survey of MPs commissioned by the west-London hub found that around two-thirds believe the project would strengthen Britain's economy.

MPs also ranked Heathrow expansion as the most important infrastructure project for spreading growth across the country, according to the airport.

Some 150 MPs took part in the study between April 13 and June 14.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: " At an uncertain time for the British economy, MPs recognise that Heathrow is a private sector infrastructure project that will spread growth across Britain from the moment that we get a green light.

"Now more than ever, people across Britain are counting on the Government to take bold decisions that show we are a confident outward looking trading nation. MPs are clear that expanding Heathrow will help secure Britain's long-term economic future.

"Heathrow is the right choice for a stronger Britain."

But campaigners against airport expansion claimed t he fallout of the EU referendum could delay a decision being made on Heathrow.

It was previously suggested that ministers could announce whether Heathrow or Gatwick should be expanded before the summer Parliamentary break at the end of July.

John Stewart, chairman of anti- Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said David Cameron's announcement that he will step down by October following the Brexit vote could mean a further delay.

" Brexit must cast doubts on whether a third runway at Heathrow will ever be given the green light," he said.

"The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have lost the fight of their lives. Outers like Boris Johnson, who is fiercely opposed to Heathrow expansion, have won. At the very least, a decision on a new runway must now be up in the air."

Mr Stewart said a new prime minister would want to "look again at its desirability, its deliverability and the cost its related rail and road infrastructure would impose on the public purse".

He added: "The Government had pencilled in 7th or 8th July to announce its runway decision. It may confirm its intentions over the next few days but it would be surprising if a lame-duck Prime Minister risked further splits within the Conservative Party by making such a controversial decision just weeks before he leaves office."

In July last year the Airport Commission recommended that a third runway at Heathrow should be built.

But in December the Department for Transport announced that the decision on which project to support would be delayed until further work on noise, pollution and compensation is carried out.

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