Transport minister Robert Goodwill has pledged to overcome Britain’s “infrastructure-averse” culture to build an extra runway in the South East.
The Airports Commission last summer recommended that a third runway be built at Heathrow.
But rival bids to build a second runway at Gatwick and to expand an existing landing strip at Heathrow remain in the running as the government has delayed a final decision until this summer.
Goodwill told delegates at the Airport Operators Association annual dinner in London this week that extra work was needed to build the case for expansion.
“The decision was delayed because it was the right thing to do,” he insisted. “The responsible thing to do to make sure we’re fully prepared.
“You understand better than most that Britain’s infrastructure-averse culture has a history of derailing transport schemes.
“This government is changing that culture but to risk any chance of failure at this stage would be unacceptable.”
Heathrow Airport Ltd has insisted its mooted expansion (pictured) can be delivered within EU air quality limits. But Transport for London called in November for a fresh look at how a third runway at the west London hub would affect air quality.
Goodwill said: “Sir Howard Davies’ report gave us a wealth of data and analysis but you can never have too much evidence, particularly in the light of our emerging understanding of air quality issues and diesel cars.
“We’re using this time to make the case for new capacity even more watertight. Additional work to get the best possible outcome. So we can deliver it by 2030.”