How businesses reacted to the Heathrow decision

Rebecca Smith
Gatwick should get the go-ahead too, according to the capital's firms
Gatwick should get the go-ahead too, according to the capital's firms (Source: Getty)

It's taken a while, but businesses have welcomed the news that Heathrow expansion today got the go-ahead from the government.

The IoD: "The Davies Commission process set up a false choice between Heathrow and Gatwick"

Dan Lewis, senior adviser on infrastructure policy at the Institute of Directors, said: "Business will welcome the fact that the government has finally taken this necessary decision in the national interest, ending years of frustrating prevarication. The future success of the British economy will depend upon companies being able to continue and expand trade with the world, particularly beyond Europe."

He did though, warn that IoD members want the government to "keep an eye on the public subsidy that goes towards the new runway".

"We would like to see Heathrow commit to taking on more of the cost of the transport links that get people there," he said. "We also shouldn’t forget that the Davies Commission process set up a false choice between Heathrow and Gatwick. There remain good arguments for expansion at Gatwick on grounds of competition and cost, and ministers should keep their options open for a second runway there."

LCCI: "Strengthen rail links and improve services at London City and Stansted airports"

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: "I am relieved that the decision has finally been made and firmly believe it is the right one. However as the runway will take several years to be operational we need to make best use of existing aviation infrastructure now including strengthening rail links and improving services at London City and Stansted airports".

GTMC: "The most positive economic step-change in recent times"

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) said Heathrow expansion marked "the most positive economic step-change in recent times for the UK economy". Paul Wait said: "It is important to recognise that as well as the opportunities that expansion at Heathrow will bring, Gatwick Airport has invested in meeting the needs of the business traveller and carries significant potential if given the go-ahead to also expand."

CBI: "An enormous relief"

Paul Drechsler CBE, CBI's president, said: "The Prime Minister's green light to expand the UK’s aviation capacity comes as an enormous relief to firms in every corner of the country.

"A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news, especially as the country has waited nearly 50 years for this decision. It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focused firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets."

He added that: "With contracts to tender for, apprentices to recruit and supply chains to build, this decision must be taken forward swiftly, giving businesses the confidence to invest."

Read more: Zac Goldsmith MP 'intends to resign' after Heathrow runway decision

FSB: "Could create £211bn of extra economic growth"

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "FSB agrees with the government's clear decision on the third new runway for Heathrow, which will help to boost international trade and create jobs.

"This could create up to £211bn of extra economic growth, 180,000 jobs and double the apprenticeships at Heathrow to a total of 10,000. We now need to see budgets committed and shovels in the ground as soon as possible."

TheCityUK: "The right decision, one which will boost the UK's international competitiveness"

Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “Today the government made the right decision, one which will boost the UK’s international competitiveness and help support the UK’s position as the world financial centre.

"However, the path ahead remains a long one, with plenty of room for disruption. This decision has been decades in the making - it must not be decades in the execution. We hope ministers will stand firm and support a smooth planning process without any further deferrals or delays.”

Adam Smith Institute: "A big point in this government's favour"

Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: "It’s a big point in this government’s favour that it has finally gone ahead with the plans, and a sign that it might be willing to push ahead with other important projects that local NIMBYs don’t like.

"We shouldn't feel too sorry for local residents, no matter how vocal they are. Their house prices will have been lower to reflect the inconvenience of living in the flight path, compared to similar houses in quieter areas and, for anyone who has bought a house in the past four decades, also to reflect the probability of a third runway being built. So the trade-off for them is cheaper housing in exchange for a bit more ambient noise from aircraft."