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Ed Balls has said a Labour government would not “dither and delay” over the need for airport expansion in the south east.
The shadow chancellor told the party’s conference that if elected Labour would “resolve” the long-running debate over airport capacity and not “kick the issue into the long grass”.
“Whatever the outcome of the Howard Davies review into airport capacity, we must resolve to finally make a decision on airport capacity in London and the south east — expanding capacity while taking into account the environmental impact,” Balls said in his keynote speech.
“No more kicking into the long-grass, but taking the right decisions for Britain’s long-term future,” he added.
ABTA’s head of public affairs Stephen D’Alfonso said it is “very positive” to hear Balls recognise “urgent action on airport capacity” is needed.
“As ABTA called for in our manifesto the need for capacity in the south east is urgent and will be vital to the competitiveness of our economy and our industry’s ability to keep delivering jobs and growth,” he said.
“As we have said consistently, political consensus will be fundamental and so we will be watching closely to see what further support we can expect from Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as they host their conferences in the coming weeks.”
Both Gatwick and Heathrow airports have been shortlisted for potential new runways by the government-appointed Airports Commission, which will be making its final recommendation for expansion in the south-east in summer 2015 after the next general election.