Andrew Adonis, Chair of National Infrastructure Commission, urges government to get on with Heathrow runway

Lord Andrew Adonis, chair of the UK National Infrastructure Commission, has urged the government to show it is committed to getting a 3rd Heathrow runway built.  He wants to reassure backers of the runway that the current woeful political instability in government will not delay the project. The FT says Lord Adonis (a long time backer of the runway) considers it “essential” – but though it was in the Tory election manifesto, it was not mentioned in the (watered-down) Queen’s Speech. The Airports National Policy Statement is due to be considered by the Transport Select Committee (when it is re-convened) and then voted on in the House of Commons – perhaps early 2018. Andrew Adonis has urged Theresa May to get the vote as early as possible; that would be May 2018 “to send out a positive signal to business”… that “Britain is open for business.”  He considers (with the problems on Hinckley Point C power station) that getting the runway built would be “the “acid test” of the government’s commitment to infrastructure investment.”  But the parliamentary vote is far less certain that before the election, and Theresa May is not likely to remain Prime Minister for long. If Boris Johnson became PM, he has always been vehemently opposed to the runway. There remains huge uncertainty about the whole scheme.
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May urged to timetable Heathrow’s third runway

By Jim Pickard, (Chief Political Correspondent, Financial Times)

25.6.2017

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Andrew Adonis, chair of Britain’s National Infrastructure Commission, has urged the government to show it is committed to expanding Heathrow airport and allay concerns that the project will fall foul of political instability.

 

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Lord Adonis will say in a speech on Monday there should be no “delay or prevarication” on projects such as the Heathrow third runway and Crossrail 2. “With a minority government, business is looking to parliament for decisive action on key national projects . . . tens of thousands of jobs are at stake.”

He is backed by business groups.

Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said new infrastructure was vital at a time of “transition and change”. “The best possible Brexit deal won’t be worth the paper it is written on if we don’t have the right infrastructure to support growth,” he said.

 

…. Full FT article at

https://www.ft.com/content/71bf7640-59b2-11e7-9bc8-8055f264aa8b?mhq5j=e2

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See earlier:

Recent opponent of Heathrow runway, Sadiq Khan, appoints pro-Heathrow runway, Lord Adonis on transport

Until June 2015, Sadiq Khan (now London Mayor) backed a 3rd Heathrow runway.  He was Transport Minister under Gordon Brown, pushing for it. He then appreciated that he could not be elected Mayor if he backed the runway as it is so unpopular with millions of Londoners, who are adversely affected by it.  Ministers are saying his election, and his opposition to a 3rd runway, will not influence their runway decision.  The Mayor’s opinion on a runway carries some weight, though they cannot make the decision.  Worryingly, Sadiq will appoint former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who strongly backs a Heathrow runway,  to run transport in London.  The Labour peer also heads the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.  Sadiq backs a 2nd runway at Gatwick to increase airport capacity, as people in areas adversely affected by Gatwick did not get to vote in the Mayoral election.  He also backs improved rail links to Stansted.  It would be easier for a Conservative government to resist the opposition of a Labour mayor, than a Tory one, to a Heathrow expansion. Transport Professor, David Metz, said: “There is a respectable case for deferring this difficult political decision, to see how a very competitive aviation sector copes with the growth of demand for air travel” … seeing how market forces displace leisure travellers from Heathrow to Stansted in future.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2016/05/recent-opponent-of-heathrow-runway-sadiq-khan-appoints-pro-heathrow-runway-lord-adonis-on-transport/

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George Osborne launches National Infrastructure Commission, under Andrew Adonis, so UK can “think big again”

George Osborne has launched his national infrastructure commission. He said infrastructure investment would be at the heart of November’s spending review and the new independent body would think “dispassionately and independently” about Britain’s infrastructure needs. Andrew Adonis will chair the commission, which will oversee £100 billion of infrastructure spending by 2020. Osborne says the failure of successive governments to invest in infrastructure has meant that the British people have longer commutes, higher energy bills and can’t afford to be home-owners. Osborne himself has overseen a 5.4% fall in infrastructure investment since he took office in 2010.  He wants this government to be thinking “long term” and he wants new railway lines, new broadband installed (and perhaps a new runway). Other members of the commission include Michael Heseltine, Prof Tim Besley, Sir John Armitt, and Bridget Rosewell,  The commission will have the initial priorities of examining connections between the big northern cities, London’s transport system and energy infrastructure. It will produce a report at the beginning of each parliament with recommendations for spending on infrastructure projects, though politicians will have the final say.  In the spending review, Osborne will probably announce a suite of asset sales which the Treasury expects to raise billions of pounds to be ploughed back into projects.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/george-osborne-launches-national-infrastructure-commission-under-andrew-adonis-so-uk-can-think-big-again/

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Chancellor says there will be a £300 million “Transport Development Fund” for “transformative transport infrastructure projects”?

The Autumn Statement and Spending Review, by the Chancellor did not have anything to say about Air Passenger Duty, so fortunately it has not been cut again.  Due to the amalgamation of the distance bands, from 1st April 2015, so any trip of over 2,000 pays the same amount of APD – and the removal of APD for children (those under 12 from May 2015, and those under 16 from May 2016) the receipts to the Treasury from APD are lower than anticipated several years ago. The forecast receipts from APD in 2018/19 are now £.0.8 billion lower than forecast in the Autumn Statement in 2013. There is no mention of a new runway in the Autumn Statement, and no money set aside for road or rail work associated with it. However, “The Spending Review and Autumn Statement provides £300 million over the next 5 years for a new Transport Development Fund, for the next generation of transport infrastructure projects. This could include providing development funding for projects such as Crossrail 2 and proposals emerging from the Northern Transport Strategy, following advice from the NIC at Budget 2016.  [NIC is the National Infrastructure Commission,  under Lord Adonis. It is in theory not looking at airport-related issues]. The DfT will have a 37% cut in its operating budget, though the aviation section is thought to have a 30% increase for runway delivery.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/11/chancellor-says-there-will-be-a-300-million-transport-development-fund-for-transformative-transport-infrastructure-projects/

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