A consultation on expanding airports in south-east England has been delayed again amid reports of tensions within the coalition over the issue.
The consultation had been due to be announced this month but is now unlikely to go ahead until the autumn.
The Liberal Democrats are opposed to expansion, and the coalition agreement rules out new airports in the region. But many Conservative MPs are pushnig for a third runway at Heathrow.
London mayor Boris Johnson also opposes a third runway at Heathrow and instead backs construction of a controversial new airport in the Thames Estuary.
The ICE said the delay was “frustrating”.
“The ongoing delay in addressing our hub capacity issues is disappointing and only adds to the frustration and uncertainty,” said ICE director general Nick Baveystock. “When it comes to the UK’s airport infrastructure needs, there are some tough political and public choices, but the UK’s reputation is on the line.
“We must ensure there is sufficient capacity to improve connectivity and maintain our competitiveness. Hopefully the autumn consultation will put all options on the table for consideration, so we can secure the best outcome for the environment, society and the economy.”
The ICE will be responding to the consultation through an expert panel and on completion of that Panel’s work will make our findings public and transparent.
Another aviation paper dealing with noise, emissions and regional airports will be published today.