A final decision on the third runway at Heathrow Airport has been postponed until 2018.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling stated the publication of the final Airport's National Policy Statement (NPS) setting out the position of the government and the ensuing House of Commons vote will not take place until the first half of next year, blaming the snap General Election for the delay.
He said: “ This government is fully committed to realising the benefits that a new northwest runway at Heathrow would bring, in terms of economic growth, boosting jobs and skills, strengthening domestic links and – critically – increasing and developing our international connectivity as we prepare to leave the European Union.
"The timing of the election, in particular the need to re-start 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."
He added that a further update would be provided following the House of Commons summer recess.
The Department for Transport previously announced in October last year that steps towards a final decision would be made in late 2017 or early 2018.
"We're seeing even greater support for our campaign against Heathrow expansion"
Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Rob Barnstone, representing MPs, local authorities and campaign groups opposed to expansion said: "Postponing this decision once again shows that the government are worried not only about losing a parliamentary vote, but also that their aviation strategy will simply be in tatters.
"As the weeks and months go on, we're seeing even greater support for our campaign against Heathrow expansion.
"By the time this vote comes before Parliament, if at all, we are confident that MPs will vote it down. Heathrow expansion is not deliverable."
"A new runway at the UK’s biggest port is crucial"
Executive director of Back Heathrow, Parmjit Dhanda, said: "It’s great news that the government has reaffirmed its support for expanding Heathrow.
"A new runway at the UK’s biggest port is crucial as we look to navigate Brexit and create a bright, prosperous future outside of the European Union."
He claimed the expansion will create 10,000 apprenticeships, 77,000 new jobs in the local area and 180,000 across the country.
He said: "This is a huge opportunity and we are confident that when parliament votes on it next year, it will not fail to take it."
Heathrow Airport said it is able to expand while reducing the noise impact on people living under the flight paths.
It currently has a number of schemes in operation providing both local houses and schools with forms of noise insulation.
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