Heathrow and Hinkley Point 'in serious doubt' after Brexit vote
Plans for a third runway at Heathrow and a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point have been left in doubt following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, according to a report today.
The newspaper says David Cameron had been expected to confirm Heathrow’s expansion on 7 July in the event of a Remain vote.
But following Brexit and his resignation, the decision has been delayed, as the Tory leadership row comes into the fore.
Boris Johnson is fervently against the expansion of Heathrow.
After four years of campaigning on Heathrow, campaigners believed they were “a nose of the finishing line”.
“You could reach out and touch it,” a source told The Sunday Times. “We thought the probability lay very heavily with us.”
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, told staff on Friday there was now an even bigger case for expanding the airport, to keep the world connected.
But Mr Johnson’s former aviation adviser said: “Since last December they [Heathrow] have been continuously losing momentum.”
The Brexit decision could also affect the £18bn nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The project has been stuck in the final stages for months, waiting for approval by the French state giant EDF Energy. It is due to hold a board meeting as early as next month.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman, said the result would have “no impact” on the project and the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was “fully confident” it would go forward.
But a source told the paper: “This [scheme] was already looking so challenged. The vote is the perfect excuse for the French to walk away.”
HS2 may also suffer at the hand’s of Brexit, with Lord Berkeley, chairman of the Rail Freight Group, saying parts of the line are “seriously at risk” of being axed.
Richard Threlfall, head of infrastructure at the accountant KPMG, argued the projects could become victims from the “political distraction” that Brexit will cause. “I can’t imagine that any part of Whitehall is going to be thinking or doing anything... except trying to work out where we go [on Europe] from here,” he said.
“That’s certainly going to be true in the Treasury. Getting attention on important strategic infrastructure decisions, I fear, has just got significantly harder.”