Prime minister David Cameron has announced that an independent commission is to evaluate the options for expanding aviation capacity in the south east.
Cameron said that the commission, details of which are to be announced in the next few days, would recommend options to government. But no decision would be made before the next General Election, he said.
Both the Conservatives and Lib Dems ruled out a third runway at Heathrow in their 2010 general election manifestos and the coalition agreement continued this commitment.
Cameron revealed the move at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.
He said: “Let me be very frank about this: these very large infrastructure projects are extremely difficult for individual governments to take on and deliver.
“What we need to do is build a process that will hopefully have cross-party support, so that we can look carefully at the issue and deliver changes that will address the problems of capacity that we will have in future years and the issue of the UK’s hub status. I hope to make an announcement about that in the coming days, but it is important that we work across party lines, because this will not happen unless parties sign up to a process that can deliver,” he said.
“Let me say clearly that, while I believe that we need to establish a form of review that will bring parties together and make a decision about airport capacity, I will not break my manifesto pledge,” he added.