This morning a report from Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission recommended the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, saying it could provide £147bn of economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050.
The report has been a long time coming: former London School of Economics chief Davies was appointed three years ago to lead an inquiry into rival proposals from Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as others.
Businesses have long made the case for a third runway at Heathrow – now a recommendation has been made, businesses are urging the government not to delay.
CBI director general John Cridland: "Get diggers in the ground"
The government must commit to the decision now, and get diggers in the ground at Heathrow swiftly by 2020. Growing airport capacity in the south east is absolutely critical to the whole of the UK’s economic future – it simply isn’t an optional “nice to do”. Each day the government delays taking the decision, the UK loses out as our competitors reap the rewards and strengthen their trade links.
Creating new routes to emerging markets will open doors to trade, boosting growth, creating jobs and driving investment right across the country. Our research shows that eight new daily routes alone could boost exports by up to £1 billion a year. The UK’s economic future cannot be kept waiting on the tarmac any longer. By taking the decision now, the government can send the message, loud and clear, that Britain is open for business.
BCC director general John Longworth: "Time for a commitment"
Now that all the evidence is on the table, firms in every corner of the UK want to see an irreversible government commitment to a new runway at Heathrow by the end of 2015, with planning complete and diggers on the ground by the end of this parliament in 2020.
The ball is now firmly in the government’s court. If ministers duck this decision, and delay airport expansion for yet another generation, British businesses and our overall competitiveness will pay the price.
IoD director general Simon Walker: "No excuse"
This is the issue that has been kicked down the road time and again, but there can now be no further delay from politicians. Sir Howard has left the government with no excuse to put off this vital decision again, and if ministers do not proceed with all possible speed it will send a clear signal that the UK is not interested in being a modern, outward-looking, trading nation.
Segro chief executive David Sleath: "Get on with it"
The Airports Commission has come to the right decision, which will help UK businesses to expand into key emerging markets in Asia and South America. We have been falling behind our international competitors for too long, as new direct routes to these emerging markets have continued to grow from other European and Middle Eastern competitor hubs.The government needs to bring an end to indecision and back Sir Howard’s recommendation and let Heathrow get on with building the new runway as quickly as possible.