Airport operator BAA has denied Conservative claims that it is backing down over the third runway at Heathrow.
Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers claimed last week that BAA has accepted that there would not be a third runway under Tory rule as it was not delaying the third runway planning application until after the general election.
BAA refute that it has delayed the application and has said that preparations for the planning application are still ongoing.
“We remain convinced that a third runway is the only viable, costed and thought through way of meeting the need for extra runway capacity to maintain this country’s global connections to the rest of the world, particularly in an era where long haul links to markets such as China and India are increasingly important,” said a BAA spokesman.
“The process of putting in a planning application is complex, particularly given the new planning structure put in place as recently as October 1st. The process was always going to take until after the general election. We continue to work on the application and will take as long as is necessary to prepare a proper submission.”
A new runway at Heathrow has proved highly controversial, with the Conservatives pledging to abandon the third runway and instead build high speed rail lines to service capacity from London to the North West.