Business chiefs ramp up pressure to fast track Heathrow runway

Joint letter calls for Government backing for Airports Commission recommendation and early Parliamentary vote.

Over 50 business leaders including several from the infrastructure sector have sent a public letter to Ministers urging the Government to back the Airports Commission’s recommendation in favour of a new runway at Heathrow and hold an early Parliamentary vote by summer next year at the latest.

The letter was coordinated by the airport expansion campaign group Let Britain Fly and has been sent to the Prime Minister along with members of the new Cabinet Sub Committee on aviation. Signatories many from the FTSE 100 firms. 

“The new Government was elected upon a mandate to invest in national infrastructure. If the UK’s long-term economic plan is to remain credible then allowing investment into the construction of a new runway is essential."

The statement reads: 

“After nearly three years examining the evidence the view of the Airports Commission is unequivocal: Britain needs airport expansion and the best solution is to build a new runway at Heathrow.

“We back this recommendation and believe the Government must now provide a swift and positive response to the commission’s final report that sets out a clear timetable for an early Parliamentary vote to take place by summer 2016.

“With Heathrow already full for a decade and all of London’s other major airports likely to be full by the end of the next decade, the Government must now address the need for a new runway with urgency and give the green-light as soon as possible.

“Airport expansion is about more than where to build a new runway it is about securing long-term prosperity and creating jobs and growth for future generations. By value forty per cent of our exports go by air and we trade up to twenty times more with countries with which we have a direct air link.

“The Airports Commission has concluded that Heathrow expansion could deliver up to £147bn in economic benefit and 70,000 new jobs.

A new runway will also deliver significant connectivity and economic benefits to Northern Ireland, Scotland and the regions in northern England, ensuring key cities across the country such as Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle have easy access to the capital and on to international markets beyond.

“Our competitors will not wait while we catch up. Amsterdam already has six runways, whilst Paris and Frankfurt each have four. Heathrow has only two runways. As a result Paris now has fifty per cent more flights to China, whilst earlier this year Dubai International overtook Heathrow as the world’s busiest international airport.

“So we are becoming less competitive as a global aviation hub at a time when our competitors have plans to build over fifty new runways globally.

“The new Government was elected upon a mandate to invest in national infrastructure. If the UK’s long-term economic plan is to remain credible then allowing investment into the construction of a new runway is essential.

“The business community stands ready to support the Government in getting the new runway built as quickly as possible and urges strong political leadership to ensure this is delivered.

After decades of inaction we must ensure airport expansion is the number one infrastructure priority of this Parliament. Let’s now work together and get it built.”

Signatories include: 

Adrian Shooter, Chairman, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Andrew Formica, Chief Executive, Henderson Global Investors

Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks

Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London

Bill Moore, Chief Executive, The Portman Estate

Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land

Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Dale Keller, Chief Executive, BAR UK Limited

David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent Services LLP

David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO

Fredrik Widlund, Chief Executive Officer, CLS Holdings

Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly

George Kessler, Joint Deputy Chairman, Kesslers International

George Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Associated British Foods

Gordon Clark, Head of Commercial UK and Ireland, Global Blue

Harold Paisner, Senior Partner emeritus, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Heather Lishman, Association Director, ABPCO

Hugh Bullock, Chairman, Gerald Eve LLP

Hugh Seaborn, Chief Executive, Cadogan

Iain Anderson, Director and Chief Corporate Counsel, Cicero Group

James Rook, Managing Director, Nimlok 

James Rowntree, Managing Director- Transportation (Europe), CH2M HILL

Jeffries Briginshaw, Chief Executive Officer, British American Business 

Jim McAuslan, General Secretary, BALPA

John Burns, Chief Executive, Derwent London 

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive, London First 

John Rhodes, Director, Quod

Kevin Murphy, Chairman, ExCeL London

Mark Bensted, Managing Director, POWERDAY

Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation

Mark Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer, SDL

Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace Group

Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer, Aberdeen Asset Management 

Michael Hirst, Chairman, Business Visits and Events Partnership

Michael Spencer, Group CEO, ICAP

Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods

Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses

Sir Mike Rake, Chairman, BT (signed in a personal capacity)

Mike Turner, Chairman, Babcock International Group

Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer, HS1

Paul Andrew Wait, Chief Executive Officer, GTMC

Paul Kelly, Managing Director, Selfridges

Prof Ian Reeves, Senior Partner, Synaps Partners LLP

Prof Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London

Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive, New West End Company

Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons LLP

Richard Howson, Chief Executive Officer, Carillion

Richard Robinson, Chief Executive (Civil Infrastructure, EMEAI), AECOM

Richard Simpson, Managing Director – Property, Unite Students

Rob Bould, Chief Executive, Bilfinger GVA

Robert M Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities Group

Samir Brikho, Chief Executive, Amec Foster Wheeler

Lord Simon Wolfson, Chief Executive, Next

Sir George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Canary Wharf Group

Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer, WPP

Sue Brown, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting

Surinder Arora, Founder & Chairman, Arora Group

Tim Hancock, Managing Director, Terence O’Rourke

Vincent Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, Turner & Townsend

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They need to increase the compensation to 50% above un-blighted market value before they get the residents to be willing to move.