Speaking after yesterday’s parliamentary vote in favour of the National Policy Statement for Heathrow expansion, Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said:
“Whilst BIFA welcomes the positive news from Parliament yesterday, today’s media coverage of the obstacles that the project still faces leave me with a certain sense of foreboding whether the spades will ever hit the ground.
“Detailed plans will still need to be drawn up, and will again have to go out for public consultation. There is talk of several local authorities around Heathrow mounting a legal challenge, as well as a judicial review. Separate reviews of flight paths and airspace are also required.
“Each new hurdle that appears will only increase delays further and the chance of another political volte-face is ever present.
“On behalf of BIFA member companies, which are desperate for the greater number of flights and accompanying airfreight capacity that would result from the new runway, I can only hope that yesterday’s vote does not just open another protracted chapter in the 30-year story of procrastination over Heathrow in particular and UK aviation capacity in general.
“Yesterday’s decision has been years in the making and needs to be accompanied by the expedited planning procedure, which has been mentioned previously, with no reopening of high level arguments, and robust handling of any legal challenges.
“I hope all concerned move quickly to maintain the momentum now that this crucial hurdle has been cleared.”