Robert Keen, Director General of the British Freight Association (BIFA), has spoken about the parliamentary vote in favour of the National Policy Statement for Heathrow expansion. Even though BIFA is positive about the news, the obstacles that the project has to face left them with a certain doubt of whether or not the expansion is actually going to happen.
“Detailed plans will still need to be drawn up, and will again have to go out for public consultation. There is talk of several local authorities around Heathrow mounting a legal challenge, as well as a judicial review. Separate reviews of flight paths and airspace are also required,” said Keen.
Due to the fact that each new hurdle required can increase further delays, the option that another political vote can happen is ever present.
“On behalf of BIFA member companies, which are desperate for the greater number of flights and accompanying airfreight capacity that would result from the new runway, I can only hope that yesterday’s vote does not just open another protracted chapter in the 30-year story of procrastination over Heathrow in particular and UK aviation capacity in general,” said Keen.
“Yesterday’s decision has been years in the making and needs to be accompanied by the expedited planning procedure, which has been mentioned previously, with no reopening of high level arguments, and robust handling of any legal challenges,” he added. “I hope all concerned move quickly to maintain the momentum now that this crucial hurdle has been cleared.”
BIFA represents over 1500 UK companies in the logistics and supply chain management sector. Members of BIFA are organisations engaged in the movement of freight to/from the UK by all modes of transport: air, road, sea and rail. Some members are also involved in providing customs clearance and other cross border controls.