Construction sector leaders back call for new runway

A report published today reveals that the UK will be losing £8.5bn from its GDP every year by 2021 if the government doesn’t allow construction of a third runway at Heathrow.

The report by consultant Oxford Economics for Heathrow Airport follows two letters from an alliance of industry leaders to transport secretary Justine Greening and Chancellor George Osborne pressuring them to reconsider a third runway at Heathrow.

The letters were signed by over 100 of the UK’s business leaders including: Tony Cottam, senior partner at consultant KPMG; Paul Westbury, chief executive of engineer Buro Happold; David Tonkin, regional managing director at engineer Atkins and Mark Reynolds, deputy chief executive of contractor Mace.

Today’s report concluded that the UK would miss out on creating 141,400 jobs if Heathrow is left at its current capacity.

It added that the airport’s investment to rebuild Terminal 2 over the last two year, the biggest privately funded investment project in Europe over that time, had made a significant contribution to propping up the construction industry during the recession.

Later this month the government will consult on a new policy framework for aviation and will ask for evidence on how best to maintain the capacity UK’s hub airports.

However, the government has already ruled out a third runway at Heathrow on the grounds that it would be detrimental to local residents.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA Airports, said:  ““Jobs lost because of constraints on UK aviation won’t come back if a solution takes 25 years to arrive – they will be permanently lost to our European competitors.

“So whatever the long term answer may be on aviation, in the near term we also need a solution which builds new connections from the hub we have at Heathrow.”