Page last updated at 06:37 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 07:37 UK

Firms back third Heathrow runway

Aircraft at Heathrow airport
Businesses say Heathrow needs to maintain its hub status

A group of 100 businesses is calling for a third runway to be built at Heathrow airport "within strict environmental standards".

Among those backing the project are the British Chambers of Commerce, Hilton Hotels and Severn Trent PLC.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the UK needed "good, direct access to the global economic powerhouses such as China and India".

Green groups say a new runway will lead to environmental damage.

Competition

In the statement published in the Financial Times, the businesses say: "Heathrow Airport is vital for business.

"It offers the direct connections which make our companies globally successful, and which will be all the more important as India and China grow.

"That's been recognised by our European competitors. Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt airports will each have at least four runways by 2012.

A third runway, built and operated within the strict environmental limits set by government, will ensure that Heathrow is able to provide the quality services that business and other travellers need
Richard Lambert
CBI

"And that's why Heathrow needs a third runway built within strict environmental standards.

"Britain is at the heart of the global economy. Let's make the right decisions to keep us successful."

Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI, said: "Heathrow provides direct flights to a wide variety of destinations.

"But the airport is full. And routes are vulnerable if Heathrow cannot maintain its hub status.

"A third runway, built and operated within the strict environmental limits set by government, will ensure that Heathrow is able to provide the quality services that business and other travellers need."

Campaigners opposed to the planned expansion say it would have a serious impact on hundreds of thousands of homes in the area, as well as making it harder for Britain to cut its CO2 emissions.

'Clogged space'

Campaign group Hacan ClearSkies said a third runway was not the way to boost the UK's business links.

Chairman John Stewart said: "I would agree for the need for access to developing economies of the India and China but you don't need expansion for that.

"It is the short-haul flights that are clogging up Heathrow, so if you limit the number of slots for those flights then that would free up space for longer-haul flights, and lead to better links."

Business lobby group London First said in June that the priority for Heathrow should be to improve the existing airport before a decision to expand was taken.

A government decision on whether to go ahead with a third runway is expected later this year.


SEE ALSO
Heathrow 'needs a third runway'
25 Jun 08 |  Business
BA boss urges Heathrow expansion
20 Nov 07 |  Business

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