Transport minister affirms air plan

Marion Dakers
THE NEW transport secretary yesterday insisted there will be no expansion at Heathrow during the current parliament.

Patrick McLoughlin recently replaced Justine Greening, a vociferous opponent of a third Heathrow runway, and his appointment sparked talk of an imminent government U-turn.

But McLoughlin repeated the coalition's commitment to not work on expanding the close-tocapacity airport until at least 2015, once an independent review of UK air travel is complete.

"We need to have a proper look at the whole question of the aviation industry… it is a massive industry but it does come with complications," he told Sky News.

"We are going to get an interim report in 2013 so to say that we're just not doing anything about it at all is not the case."

He also said the government remains keen on the High Speed 2 rail upgrade to Birmingham and beyond, which has faced protests from some residents on the route.

McLoughlin was lukewarm about raising the speed limit on motorways to 80mph, a plan firmly supported by his predecessor Greening.

"I want to look at the evidence on that but nothing will detract me from what is safe overall and road safety and our record on road safety has to be paramount in my mind."