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Construction leaders in fresh plea for Heathrow expansion

Construction chiefs are among more than 250 business leaders calling for an immediate decision to expand Heathrow airport.

An open letter to prime minister David Cameron was signed by Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds, Morgan Sindall managing director of infrastructure Nick Fletcher and Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner among others.

The Airports Commission this month recommended that the government approve a £17.6bn third runway scheme at Heathrow.

But business secretary Sajid Javid appeared to buy ministers time when he said they would make a final decision on how best to tackle the air capacity crisis by the end of this year.

This prompted a plea for support from Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye – and now senior figures from across the business world have responded. The full text of the letter can be seen below.

Holland-Kaye said: “The prime minister showed leadership in establishing an independent Airports Commission, [which] unanimously concluded that expanding Heathrow is the best way of securing Britain’s future as a powerhouse in the global economy.

“Now the prime minister has the opportunity to show he is serious about delivering Britain’s long-term economic plan by listening to businesses from across the UK and backing Heathrow expansion. This debate has never been about a runway – it is about the future of our country. Let’s get on with it.”

Full text of the letter to Cameron

Dear prime minister,

The independent Airports Commission has made a clear recommendation that Heathrow is the right location for airport expansion. Heathrow’s new expansion plan ensures this can be done sustainably. The Commission’s final recommendation follows nearly three years of extensive consultation, evidence gathering and analysis. Now your government must support this recommendation to expand Heathrow.

Heathrow puts Britain right at the heart of the global economy and has helped it become one of the world’s great trading nations.

But Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – has been operating at capacity for the past decade. This lack of hub capacity is holding back the growth of UK businesses who want to fly directly to emerging markets; trade and transport their goods via air freight; create more jobs and connect to the UK’s regions.

The Commission is clear: further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected open trading economy in the 21st century.

Now is the time for government decision and action. Your government must support UK businesses by implementing the Airports Commission’s recommendation and expand Heathrow.


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