Lord Adonis has said dithering over Heathrow is “sacrificing national wellbeing” while NIC deputy chair Sir John Armitt described the UK as “a laughing stock around the world” because of the length of the delay in approving the airport expansion.
Addressing a Treasury Committee regarding infrastructure, National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) chair Lord Adonis and deputy chair Sir John Armitt spoke in scathing terms about the delay in expanding Heathrow and rubbished the suggestion that Gatwick might be the better option for expansion.
Lord Adonis said: “We cannot dither for this length of time and sacrifice national welfare, which is what is happening by not expanding Heathrow.
“We have to get on and do it.”
The Department for Transport recently published a report that suggested Gatwick would be a preferred option for expansion based on certain environmental measures and business factors.
This case for Gatwick was rejected by Sir John Armitt, a member of the Davies Commission that made the initial recommendation to expand Heathrow, who said: “We exhaustively looked at all the options.”
He added: “It was a unanimous decision, and not a difficult one, that Heathrow was the right option.”
Sir John was unequivocal in placing the blame for the delay.
“This is a political failure. This is absolutely nothing but a political failure by government not to get off the pot and actually accept clear recommendations.
“Heathrow is very clearly the most sensible place to do it. The longer we delay the more we are frankly just a laughing stock around the world, and certainly we’re not going to be prepared post-Brexit to play our part… this is the clearest way a government could show we’re not open to the world.”