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Airport expansion delay is holding up rail and road improvements, say MPs

The delay over a decision on airport expansion is in danger of holding up the construction of a number of key transport projects, MPs have warned.   

The Commons transport select committee called on the government to come up with a “coherent plan” for improving links to airports across the UK.

It said a quick decision on runway expansion in the South-east was crucial to this, adding that the indecision was preventing work on a number of transport projects from getting under way.

The calls from the committee came in a report released yesterday looking into the government’s plan for surface transport to the UK’s airports.

Committee chair Louise Ellman said the absence of a decision on extra runway capacity in the South-east showed the lack of a clear plan to upgrade infrastructure linking cities and airports.

Ms Ellman said: “When a decision is finally made about airport expansion in the South-east, this must be accompanied by a clear plan to optimise connectivity between regional transport hubs across the country.

“Without a vision for the country, local areas and regional airports cannot be expected to deliver their own plans effectively.”

The report also called on the government to show how airports outside of London would benefit from the construction of the £55bn High Speed 2 rail line.

The report said: “It remains an issue of concern to us that having committed to spending £55bn on the HS2 rail project – which we welcome – the department has provided no evidence of how it plans to best leverage the new capacity generated by the project to deliver improvements to our key international gateways, particularly our airports.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The government has a fully integrated approach to transport planning and we are investing unprecedented amounts of money to deliver infrastructure fit for the 21st century. 

“We welcome the transport select committee’s work on this issue and we will respond fully on the recommendations set out in the report in due course.”

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