Thank you for your email regarding the expansion at Heathrow Airport. I know that this is an issue about which many people feel very strongly.
On the basis that we do need more airport capacity in the South East, I’m currently inclined to support the Government’s decision, as recommended by the Airport’s Commission, to expand Heathrow Airport. This decision is a major boost for the UK economy and a central part of the Government's plan to build a global Britain, securing the UK's place in the global aviation market, along with jobs and business opportunities for the next decade and beyond.
This expansion - the first full length runway in the south-east since the Second World War - sends a very clear message that the country is open for business and will improve connectivity, not only within the UK itself, but also between the UK and long haul destinations in growing world markets. Passengers will benefit from more choice of airlines, destinations and flights, and yet despite this increase, firm commitments have been made to ensure noise reduction and meet air quality limits, with any necessary mitigation measures put in place in line with the National Air Quality Plan published in December 2015. The Government is on track to publish final proposals for Heathrow expansion in the first half of this year after which a vote in Parliament will be held.
For myself, I genuinely have an open mind regarding the best options for expanding airports in the UK and the South East, but at this point I’m minded to support the plans to expand Heathrow Airport subject to environmental considerations which, I think, must have a very high priority indeed in the decision-making process and I believe that we await further analysis from the Government on these issues. I’m also aware that a number of question marks remain concerning the complexity, timescale and deliverability of the project. Please be assured that I’ll be looking very carefully at the final proposals when this issue comes again before Parliament.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.