Business leaders have called on the next government to set up a new Airports Commission to choose more locations for two new runways immediately after the election.
In a pre-election manifesto paper called Let’s Push Things Forward, the Institute of Directors (IoD) argues that years of delays on a decision for Heathrow’s expansion has caused the UK to fall behind its European neighbours when it comes to airport capacity.
The group, which represents 30,000 business directors, stresses that as Heathrow’s third runway will not be operational until 2028 and Gatwick’s capacity is already stretched, a decision on two new runway locations should be fast-tracked by a new commission in just one year.
“Whoever wins the next election, they will face a serious challenge in upgrading the UK’s transport and communications network. The years of dawdling on new airport capacity have left us lagging well behind European competitors,” said IoD senior infrastructure advisor Dan Lewis.
“Expanding Heathrow is not enough, we need two further runways at South East airports and better connections to the ones where there is spare capacity, particularly Stansted.”
As well as arguing for more aviation capacity, the IoD uses the manifesto paper to pressure the next government on large-scale infrastructure projects. It suggests putting together a realistic plan for Crossrail 2, along with consultation on HS3 and more shovel-ready projects in the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine areas.