The opportunity to end decades of political dithering on airport expansion has been squandered, says the Transport Committee in its report on airport expansion in the South East.
In the report, the Transport Committee urges the Secretary of State to set out a clear timetable for expansion, making clear the measures which have been accepted or rejected and the work which needs to be completed.
The report concludes that arguments for and against expansion have changed little in a quarter of a century. The Committee continues to back Heathrow, with the package of accompanying measures recommended by the Airports Commission.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, said:
"The Government must make up its mind. The decision on location is not the end of the process, it is the start of one. Real progress cannot begin until the location is declared. Work on environmental issues can run in parallel with other pre-construction work.
Across the world, cities are collectively planning to build more than 50 new runways with capacity to serve one billion additional passenger journeys by 2036. The growth of large hubs in the Middle and Far East and North America threatens our position as a hub of international aviation. The UK's connectivity with the world's emerging markets is a major concern.
The months ticking by constitute time wasted for the UK's economic prosperity. UK PLC needs to know that a decision will be taken. Doing nothing means the UK continues to lose out."
The report documents the progress of the debate on airport expansion from the 1990s to the December 2015 statement in the House. The Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin MP, said the case for expansion was 'clear' but further work was needed before a decision could be taken on location. The Government indicated that the work should 'conclude over the summer' so that the timetable for delivering additional capacity by 2030 could be met.