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Delays on a new runway decision are costing the UK up to £1m an hour in emerging markets trade, according to a new study

Mark Sands
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Delays aren't just stopping holidaymakers, but also hurting the UK economy (Source: Getty)

Delays in decision making on airport expansion are costing the UK as much as £1m ever hour in lost trade with emerging markets, according to a new analysis.

Sir Howard Davies first recommended expansion at Heathrow last July, but since then the government has failed to approve the plan, and is currently set to return to the topic in October at the earliest.

And now, an analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and campaign group Let Britain Fly has reported the delay is costing the UK a total of £9.5bn a year in trade with emerging economies – equivalent to £1m an hour.

The CEBR forecast the value of additional routes, flights and passengers to UK trade with 10 emerging markets from a new runway by 2030 at £170.6bn.

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The 10 markets chosen were those that had seen trade with the UK grow the most over the last decade.

It then came up with the sums by generating forecasts based on existing trade, and current GDP on both sides, among other figures.

London First chief executive Baroness Jo Valentine said: “A new runway in the south east is critical to supporting exports from all over the UK, allowing us to open new routes to emerging markets and expand existing links. For the UK to truly prosper in the global economy post-Brexit, we must have more frequent and direct flights to these destinations.

“In the year since the Airports Commission published its final report, the UK has already foregone at least £9.5bn in potential trade with emerging economies.

“That’s more than £2bn from businesses in the South East, £1bn from those in the East, and more than £550m from Yorkshire, from the South West and form the East Midlands. We cannot afford to lose more.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman responded: “The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.

“As well as progressing the package of further work announced previously, the government will continue to consider the Commission’s evidence before reaching a view on its preferred scheme.”

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