MPs will not vote on the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport until next year, the government has admitted.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said a final national policy statement on airport capacity in the South-east would not be put before parliament until 2018.
Ministers last year announced Heathrow’s third runway plan as their preferred scheme for boosting airport capacity.
A government consultation on a draft policy statement formally backing the Heathrow scheme – and setting out planning requirements – closed in May this year.
However, Mr Grayling said today: “The timing of the election, in particular the need to restart a select committee inquiry into the draft Airports NPS, means we now expect to lay any final NPS in parliament in the first half of 2018, for a vote in the House of Commons.”
An update on the next steps of the process would be made after parliament’s summer recess, the transport secretary added.
Heathrow said the delay would not affect its expansion timetable.
A spokesperson for the west London airport said: “Our plans for an expanded Heathrow will secure Britain’s export-led future, boosting our trading links and making Britain the best connected country in the world – that’s why we are backed by the government.
“We’re getting on with delivering our plans, and look forward to parliament voting in support of a final NPS next year and approving the government’s decision.”