A vote on Heathrow’s expansion has been pushed back until the first half of next year, signalling delays to decisions on the third runway.
The final Airports National Policy Statement was due to be published at the end of this year following a public consultation, which closed on 25 May.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling blamed the election for the delay, but said the government still expected to see Heathrow’s expansion go ahead.
“This government is fully committed to realising the benefits that a new north-west runway at Heathrow would bring, in terms of economic growth, boosting jobs and skills, strengthening domestic links and – critically – increasing and developing our international connectivity as we prepare to leave the European Union,” he said.
Spats have broken out recently over the design for the third runway recently as Heathrow has clashed with airlines and a hotel tycoon over its plans to build the runway over the M25.
Last week business think tank London First warned that more airport capacity would be needed in the South East along with Heathrow expansion to keep up with the growth in demand.
London First transport director Richard Dilks said: “Government’s backing for expansion at Heathrow was hugely welcome and a significant boost to British business, but it took 50 years to get to this stage. Government has to step up and help get the UK into the best possible shape ahead of Brexit, by supporting investment and recognising that the UK’s global standing requires action beyond building a vital new runway at Heathrow.”
Heathrow Airport said that publication of a final Airports National Policy Statement in the first half of 2018 was consistent with its plans.
“Our plans for an expanded Heathrow will secure Britain’s export-led future, boosting our trading links and making Britain the best connected country in the world – that’s why we are backed by the Government. We’re getting on with delivering our plans, and look forward to Parliament voting in support of a final NPS next year and approving the Government’s decision,” said a spokesperson for Heathrow.