Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said there will be no decision on South East runway capacity until at least October.
The news was met with disappointment and calls for the Government to proceed with an expansion as quickly as possible to send out the message that the UK is open for business and create certainty amid the political fallout of Brexit.
Speaking in Parliament today, McLoughlin said: “I had hoped that we would be able to announce a decision on airport capacity this summer. Clearly any announcement on airport capacity would have to be made when the House is in session and being realistic, given recent events, I cannot now foresee an announcement until at least October.”
However he said the government was ‘fully committed’ to delivering runway capacity on the timetable set out in the Davies Report.
In response, Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “If Britain wants to be confident, outward-looking and at the centre of the world’s economy then expanding Heathrow must be a key building block in the Government’s Brexit plan.
“It will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the great trading nations. And at a time of uncertainty a £16bn privately funded infrastructure investment will create jobs and growth across the UK.
“Government can send the strongest possible signal that Britain is open for business and confident in its future by expanding Heathrow.”
Institution of Civil Engineers director general Nick Baveystock added: “This is disappointing news - Government commissioned a comprehensive review to establish the best expansion option for the UK, and this resulted in a clear recommendation.
”We recognise the difficult political situation but now more than ever we need a bold, strategic decision on the country’s future hub capacity and leaders who can step up to the mark. We now face yet more uncertainty, and indefinite delay on an issue that is critical to the UK’s competitiveness.”