Lord Adonis says delays over Heathrow's third runway must end and the government must press ahead to keep Britain "open for business"

 
Rebecca Smith
Heathrow is at capacity
Heathrow is at capacity (Source: Getty)

Brexit should not get in the way of progression with Heathrow expansion, the government’s top infrastructure adviser has said.

Lord Adonis, head of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: "It's 14 years since the original decision in principle was taken to proceed with Heathrow. There really is a limit to the dither and delay we can engage in as a country when it comes to these massively important infrastructure projects."

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Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, Lord Adonis said a key point that needs to be reached next year is parliament agreeing on the national policy statement; the formal mechanism allowing a planning application to come forward.

The NIC's timetable on when that decision needs to be taken says a motion needs to come forward to parliament "no later than May next year", so it's possible to crack on with building the third runway.

Lord Adonis added:

If we're going to proceed with Brexit, we've got to demonstrate that Britain is open for business.

At the moment, Heathrow is running at capacity; we can't be open for business if you can't get in and out of the country, so it's vital that MPs with a strong sense of cross party public spirit do take the Heathrow application forward.

The NIC is an independent body set up by the government to provide advice on major long-term infrastructure projects.

The government had given a third Heathrow runway the green light back in October, but there was no mention of it in the Queen’s Speech last week.

And Lord Adonis said he didn't think the government would lose a vote on the expansion, saying "all the indications" were that there was a cross party majority.

"I very much hope that the major political parties don't play politics with the nation's infrastructure," he said.

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