The Government announced this morning their preference for expansion at Heathrow. There was no suggestion in the announcement that expansion would also proceed at Gatwick. In line with the Davies Commission this was a straight forward binary choice and the preference is Heathrow.
I am delighted by this announcement which follows a great deal of work in and out of parliament to put the right arguments across.
Heathrow expansion is the right answer. The economic case for Heathrow was overwhelming, and Heathrow's expansion is clearly the best decision in the national interest. This shows the Government is determined to ensure that the UK is "open for business".
As required by law the Government will now embark on a consultation. They have conducted this process with immense thoroughness throughout and have widespread support from right across the UK to see Heathrow's expansion successfully implemented as swiftly as possible. This was clear from the reaction in the House of Commons this afternoon and it was the support from throughout the UK that I choose to highlight when congratulating the Transport Secretary on the announcement.
Gatwick is a huge asset to our area on its current configuration but its doubling in size would have created a vast infrastructure deficit - not least on our rail services. The Heathrow decision will be a great relief to those locally who have had the threat of Gatwick's expansion looming over them for too long.