The decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport has been delayed until next summer after Prime Minister David Cameron debated the topic in a meeting today.
The cabinet sub-committee, who met on Thursday (December 10) afternoon, have deliberated and decided that the decision is to be delayed by six months to consider environmental concerns.
The committee believe the airport should meet environmental targets recommended by the Airports Commission in their £20 million study in order for the third runway to get the go-ahead.
A statement from the government read: "We will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.
"The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
"The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity."
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin backed the statement and said: "“We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.
“We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people.
Earlier this year, the Sir Howard Davies report recommended that Heathrow should be granted a third runway.
"There is massive support for Heathrow expansion from across all political parties and the majority of UK businesses"
The announcement of the delay has been criticised by business leader however, who feel that a lack of decision is affecting the country's economy.
Back Heathrow’s Campaign Director, Rob Gray, said: “By dithering and delaying a decision the Government has created more uncertainty for local residents, more uncertainty for workers in the local area and the potential loss to the UK economy of more than £5bn."
"There is massive support for Heathrow expansion: from across all political parties, the majority of UK businesses, international airlines, local firms and most importantly, from local residents."
Chris Richards, Senior Business Environment Policy Adviser at EEF manufacturers’ organisation also expressed his disappointment and said: “By avoiding a tough decision, despite a well-evidenced shortlist, the government has again dithered and avoided the issue.
"The industry is fed-up and dismayed by the continued excuses and political dilly dallying."
Heathrow confident they can meet environmental standards
Heathrow Airport have said they have full confidence that expansion can be delivered within environmental limits.
If selected, the expansion in west London is said to result in up to £211bn of economic growth, 180,000 jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships across Britain.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport said: "Our new plan will connect the whole nation to global growth while providing opportunities for the local community and making Heathrow the most environmentally responsible hub airport in the world.
"I am confident we can meet tough environmental standards."
Government must turn to Gatwick for expansion, says Gatwick Airport CEO Wingate
Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Even Heathrow’s most vocal supporters must now realise a third runway at Heathrow will never take off as the environmental hurdles are just too high.
"If they want Britain to have the benefits of expansion and competition they should now look to Gatwick."