My Department and the Civil Aviation Authority have conducted assurance work on the financing and affordability of expansion proposals. This has concluded that, so far as can be assessed at this stage and assuming current market conditions, Heathrow is in principle able to privately finance expansion, but we will continue to monitor this as plans mature.
Given the compounding costs and constraints on a third runway at Heathrow, it seems unlikely that it will ever be built. What Heathrow has succeeded in doing is blocking its more competitive rivals from building extra capacity. In that light, when will the Government review their decision?
The airports national policy includes a requirement that any developers should demonstrate that their scheme is cost-efficient and sustainable, and that it seeks to minimise costs over its lifetime. It is a responsibility of scheme developers to follow the process set out in the Planning Act 2008 and to submit proposals to the Planning Inspectorate. We will consider the merits of potential schemes before referring them to the decision-making Minister with the recommendation.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Zac Goldsmith says it is “bonkers”, the Transport Secretary doubts that it stacks up financially and yesterday the Prime Minister told me that he has “lively doubts” about it. When will the Government stop playing with the lives of millions of people in the west of London and cancel this disastrous project?
Does the Minister at least agree that it is important to give people and local communities the information they need to understand the decision that has been taken? Notwithstanding the Prime Minister’s words in Prime Minister’s questions yesterday, the Department is still pressing ahead with this very unpopular transport project and neither reviewing, nor reversing it.
In an attempt to seek some degree of agreement with the right hon. Lady, since I came into this role I have made a point of meeting community groups across the south-east, as well as the airports, to understand their concerns and how we can try to resolve some of the trust deficit that clearly exists between the two sides.