Indecision over airport expansion is damaging the environment and hurting the Scottish economy, says Drew Hendry
Commons Transport Committee urges Government makes a decision “at the earliest possible opportunity”
Indecision over whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick airports is damaging the environment and hurting the Scottish economy, according to SNP MP Drew Hendry.
With the UK Government facing criticism over repeatedly delaying its decision on airport expansion, the SNP transport spokesperson warned, “the runways are now fuller, more jets are circling, the environment continues to be damaged and investors have indeed been put off. Who knows how many jobs that has cost?”
A recent report from the House of Commons' Transport Select Committee recommended the Government makes a decision “at the earliest possible opportunity”, while urging David Cameron to set out a clear timetable for airport expansion in the South East.
Responding to the UK Government plans, outlined in the Queen’s speech, Hendry said expansion “remains the jumbo in the room”.
Hendry said: “Although nobody will be shocked by the lack of a commitment to deciding on airport expansion, it remains the jumbo in the room. I know that our frustration is actually shared by Government Ministers. I am certain that, freed from internal pressures, they would have made a decision by now, but they remain paralysed by orders arising from internal party politics.”
He added: “More than 90 per cent of international visitors to Scotland travel by air. More than a third use Heathrow as a hub and, if that is combined with Gatwick, I reckon that around half our international visitors travel through the south-east.
“It is not just about tourism; it is the £5bn a year whisky industry and the £500m salmon industry, and other shellfish and exports need to get to international markets. All the time the decision is pushed out and fudged, it harms the Scottish economy.”
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