FT says after government statement on runway in late autumn, there will be a public consultation
It seems likely that the government will indicate its preference for the location of a new runway before Christmas (could be in November). A Whitehall source has indicated to the Financial Times that Patrick McLoughlin is then expected to set out a “clear direction” — rather than a hard and fast decision. That will then require a public consultation by the DfT. The DfT said: “The government is now carefully considering the evidence before making a decision and the secretary of state for transport plans to make a statement in the autumn to provide clear direction on the government’s plans ….Further consultation will be required as part of any decision-making process and to secure planning consents.” George Osborne indicated recently that there would be a consultation before the government made any final decision. He said: “Now we’ve got to consult people, let Londoners have their say as well and not prejudge that.” Maybe that’s a way for the Cabinet to try to resolve their internal split on Heathrow. A Treasury spokesperson later said consulting widely with residents would be expected: “You would criticise us if we didn’t consult on a decision this big.”
Heathrow wants talks over expansion conditions
13.7.2015 (Financial Times)
By Peggy Hollinger and Jim Pickard
Heathrow is seeking discussions with government over the conditions laid down by the independent airports commission as a prerequisite to the controversial expansion of the UK’s biggest airport.
“The government is now carefully considering the evidence before making a decision and the secretary of state for transport plans to make a statement in the autumn to provide clear direction on the government’s plans,” a transport ministry official said. “Further consultation will be required as part of any decision-making process and to secure planning consents.”
George Osborne raised the hopes of protesters last week when he promised that there would be a consultation before the government made any final decision.
Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, will decide between Heathrow and Gatwick by the end of the year — widely expected to be around November.
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DCLG and DfT face 40% spending cuts
Chancellor George Osborne has launched his spending review, with Whitehall departments including the Department for Communities and Local Government having to bear spending cuts of up to 40 per cent.
Government departments that are not protected, including the Departments for Communities and Local Government, Transport, Energy and Climate Change, and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are expected to find £3 billion in savings in the current financial year.
Set to be published on 25 November 2015, the review will set out, according to the government, how it will invest in “priority public services” and “deliver £20 billion further savings required to eliminate Britain’s deficit by 2019/2020”.
… and it continues
DfT faces 40% cut – at same time as delivering infrastructure “vital to growth”
21.7.2015 (Transport Extra)
The DfT is in line for a 40% cut in its budget within four years – something the Treasury says can be achieved whilst prioritising transport investment that “drives growth”.
The demand came as the Treasury formally started its Spending Review 2015 process, in which the Conservatives will seek to deliver a budget surplus by 2019/20 by cutting annual departmental expenditure by £20bn within four years. The Chancellor acknowledges that these are “big savings” but points to how Whitehall costs were cut by 40% in the last Parliament whilst satisfaction with public services improved.
The DfT and other non-protected departments have therefore been tasked with modelling savings of both 25% and 40% by September, in time for cabinet decisions on how the cuts will be shared out in time for the Chancellor unveiling the final Spending Review on the 25th November.
Heathrow wants “discussions with government” to negotiate runway conditions set by Airports Commission
The Airports Commission recommended a 3rd runway at Heathrow, subject to a number of conditions (noise, compensation, local consultation, air quality etc). But Heathrow is not keen on these conditions, and now says it is “seeking discussions with government ” on them. John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said Heathrow “would have to consider” the demand from the Commission that there should not be night flights, and that there should be a legal prohibition on a 4th runway. The point of conditions is that they are, well as they say, conditions. But Heathrow says: “We will work with the government to make sure we have a solution that can be delivered. I am not saying today that we will accept all the conditions that have been put down.” Airlines would not like night flights, as they make long haul routes less profitable and problematic. Heathrow’s hope of getting conditions, all recommended for good reasons, removed or reduced will only increase the level of hostility towards the airport by its opponents. Whitehall sources say the government will state its preference for the location of a new runway before Christmas (could be November?) — but will then launch a fresh consultation.
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