The decision to determine the location of a new runway to serve the capacity needs of South East England has been delayed until at least October.
The announcement, made by British Government’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, follows last week’s UK’s Brexit vote. The country’s decision to leave the European Union quickly led to the resignation of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who will step down in October, thereby launching a leadership contest in the Conservative government.
In September 2012 the previous administration – a Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition – appointed the Airport Commission to study a number of possible locations to build a new runway that would provide much-needed extra capacity for the South East of England. A long-running process of elimination eventually left just two potential sites; Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Their respective PR teams have fought a vocal campaign to win popular support throughout the whole process but, in July 2015, the Airports Commission recommended Heathrow as the best location for a new runway. However, the ultimate choice still rested with the government, which last December, delayed its decision until this “summer” on the grounds that further studies were required regarding environmental and compensation issues. No information has yet been released about what those extra studies found.
Now, whoever wins the Conservative leadership election and becomes Prime Minister, will have the responsibility of announcing the government’s runway decision.