Evening Standard believes Ministers likely to make runway decision by end of year
The Evening Standard reports that Ministers are determined to make a firm decision on building a new runway by the end of the year, and Heathrow is considered to be the most likely location. Runway proponents fear the Government would put off a runway rather than risk a huge battle against environmentalists and local residents blighted by more flights. There has also been talk of a delay on the airports announcement until after the London mayoral election in May 2016, due to Zac Goldsmith. Though Patrick McLoughlin has intimated that the decision could be postponed, the Standard understands that ministers are determined to make a firm decision by the end of the year. A special Cabinet committee on airport expansion, chaired by David Cameron, is to meet for the first time within weeks (its first meeting is meant to have happened already). George Osborne is setting up a new National Infrastructure Commission, and wants to be seen to be getting things built fast – a runway would be a key project. The government knows it has to get the Heathrow plan done correctly, to avoid judicial reviews causing delays.It would be easier for the government to choose a Heathrow runway, because if they choose Gatwick they would need strong arguments and fresh evidence, to override the Commission’s conclusions.