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Let’s get it built: Business chiefs say new runway at Heathrow should be fast-tracked

London First

5 min read Partner content

Business leaders urge Government to back Airports Commission recommendation to expand Heathrow and call for early Parliamentary vote

Twenty eight days after the Airports Commission published its Final Report, business leaders have sent a public letter to Ministers urging the Government to back the Commission’s recommendation and hold an early Parliamentary vote as soon as possible (by summer 2016 at the latest).

The letter was coordinated by the airport expansion campaign group Let Britain Fly and has been sent to the Prime Minister along with members of the new Cabinet Sub Committee on aviation. Signatories include a number of business leaders from well-known firms including many from the FTSE 100.

The statement reads:

“After nearly three years examining the evidence the view of the Airports Commission is unequivocal: Britain needs airport expansion and the best solution is to build a new runway at Heathrow. We back this recommendation and believe the Government must now provide a swift and positive response to the Commission’s Final Report that sets out a clear timetable for an early Parliamentary vote to take place by summer 2016.

With Heathrow already full for a decade and all of London’s other major airports likely to be full by the end of the next decade, the Government must now address the need for a new runway with urgency and give the green-light as soon as possible.

Airport expansion is about more than where to build a new runway it is about securing long-term prosperity and creating jobs and growth for future generations. By value forty per cent of our exports go by air and we trade up to twenty times more with countries with which we have a direct air link. The Airports Commission has concluded that Heathrow expansion could deliver up to £147bn in economic benefit and 70,000 new jobs.

A new runway will also deliver significant connectivity and economic benefits to Northern Ireland, Scotland and the regions in northern England, ensuring key cities across the country such as Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle have easy access to the capital and on to international markets beyond.

Our competitors will not wait while we catch-up. Amsterdam already has six runways, whilst Paris and Frankfurt each have four. Heathrow has only two runways. As a result Paris now has fifty per cent more flights to China. Whilst earlier this year Dubai International overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest international airport. So we are becoming less competitive as a global aviation hub at a time when our competitors have plans to build over fifty new runways globally.

The new Government was elected upon a mandate to invest in national infrastructure. If the UK’s long-term economic plan is to remain credible then allowing investment into the construction of a new runway is essential. The business community stands ready to support the Government in getting the new runway built as quickly as possible and urges strong political leadership to ensure this is delivered.

After decades of inaction we must ensure airport expansion is the number one infrastructure priority of this Parliament. Let’s now work together and get it built.”

Signatories include the following:

Adrian Shooter, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Global Investors
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks
Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London
Bill Moore CBE, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate
Bob Rothenberg, Senior Partner, Blick Rothenberg LLP
Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce Industry
Dale Keller, Chief Executive, BAR UK Limited
David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent Services LLP
David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO
Fredrik Widlund, Chief Executive Officer, CLS Holdings
Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly
George Kessler CBE, Joint Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International
George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods
Gordon Clark, Head of Commercial UK and Ireland, Global Blue
Harold Paisner, Senior Partner emeritus, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Heather Lishman, Association Director, ABPCO
Hugh Bullock, Chairman, Gerald Eve LLP
Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan
Iain Anderson, Director and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group
James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok
James Rowntree, Managing Director- Transportation (Europe), CH2M HILL
Jeffries Briginshaw, Chief Executive Officer, British American Business
Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, BALPA
John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive, London First
John Rhodes, Director, Quod
Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London
Mark Bensted OBE, Managing Director, POWERDAY
Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation
Mark Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer, SDL
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer, Aberdeen Asset Management
Michael Hirst, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership
Michael Spencer, Group CEO, ICAP
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods
Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT (signed in a personal capacity)
Mike Turner CBE, Chairman, Babcock International Group
Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1
Paul Andrew Wait, Chief Executive Officer, GTMC
Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges
Prof Ian Reeves CBE, Senior Partner, Synaps Partners LLP
Prof Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London
Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company
Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons LLP
Richard Howson, Chief Executive Officer, Carillion
Richard Robinson, Chief Executive (Civil Infrastructure, EMEAI), AECOM
Richard Simpson, Managing Director – Property, Unite Students
Rob Bould, Chief Executive, Bilfinger GVA
Robert M Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group
Samir Brikho, Chief Executive, Amec Foster Wheeler
Lord Simon Wolfson, Chief Executive, Next
Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Canary Wharf Group
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP
Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
Surinder Arora, Founder Chairman, Arora Group
Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke
Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner Townsend

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