Politicians must now embrace airport expansion


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Politicians must stop hampering airport expansion

Commenting on the release of the runway recommendation from the Airports Commission, Mark Littlewood, Director-General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“With a greenlight from the Airports Commission, it’s now crucial that politicians stop hampering expansion at the expense of economic growth. Irrespective of a runway’s location, the private sector has been raring to invest in airport expansion for some years. In fact, while the UK hasn’t built a new full-length runway in the South-East since the Second World War, in just a few years China has built more than 30 airports.

“For progress, we need to get the national government out of airport investment decisions altogether. To do this, we need to find a mechanism which enables airport operators to reach an agreement with those who would lose out – the residents affected by aircraft noise. To avoid politics throwing this process into the long grass once again, a compensation mechanism should be created, so that financial incentives enable stakeholders to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements.

“Unless the government steps back from the capacity debate, the recommendations from the Davies Commission will be completely futile. Six years of navel gazing and politicking is more than enough. It’s time runways are built, to ensure that the interests of passengers and the wider UK economy prevail.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with an IEA spokesperson, please contact Stephanie Lis, Head of Communications: 07766 221 268.

In December 2013 the IEA published Depoliticising Airport Expansion: Market-Oriented Responses to the Global and Local Externalities of Aviation, which can be downloaded here.

The paper developed proposals for how to move the airport capacity debate out of the government’s hands. The research proposed the abolition of either Air Passenger Duty or the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and called for the creation of compensation incentives and a broad decentralisation of the tax system.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.