BAA today welcomed the Governments review of the progress made in implementing the Air Transport White Paper, published in 2003, and its commitment to the strategy which calls for two new runways in the South East of England. The first runway will be at Stansted, for which BAA will submit a planning application in summer 2007.
The progress report also supports the expansion of Heathrow as soon as possible, provided strict environmental conditions can be met. The Government will report on its air quality and noise evaluation work at Heathrow and consult on Heathrows future development in 2007.
Stephen Nelson, Chief Executive of BAA said: There is a powerful consensus about the desirability and necessity for sustainable economic growth as set out in the recent Stern and Eddington Reports. Through todays commitment to its Air Transport strategy, the Government is confirming that two new runways in the South East of England will help deliver sustainable growth. We cannot turn our back on growth.
The country needs new runways to accommodate growing demand for flying. Passengers are already suffering delay and congestion because of a lack of airport capacity. Without new runways London will continue to lose out to Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. That will weaken the heart of the UK economy. This stable, long-term policy framework is essential if BAA is to continue to invest the billons of pounds necessary to deliver this new infrastructure, but we must make sure we grow in an environmentally responsible way. BAA is firmly committed to balancing aviation growth with measures to ensure that the industry meet the full environmental costs of flying. By expanding both airports and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to include aviation, the UK can achieve green growth.
Developing new runway capacity is a matter of national interest and will be subject to proper public scrutiny. We have already made great strides in planning a new runway at Stansted and are increasingly confident that Heathrow, the UKs hub airport, will be able to meet strict environmental limits allowing BAA to deliver the extra capacity necessary for keeping Heathrow competitive.
In Scotland, the 2003 White Paper strategy involved safeguarding land for a possible additional runway at Edinburgh and inviting Renfrewshire County Council to safeguard land for possible runway development at Glasgow Airport. BAA has concluded that a new runway is unlikely to be needed at Edinburgh before 2020, but since 2003 has opened a new control tower and parallel taxiway at Edinburgh to ensure the best use of the existing runway.
Our Scottish airports are an important part of Scotlands transport network and BAA will continue to work closely with the UK Government and the Scottish Executive to deliver world class facilities and develop the airports to their full potential, added Mr Nelson.