Balfour Beatty, the largest contractor in the UK, has produced a report on the company’s airport policy recommendations following the country’s departure from the European Union (EU).
Titled ‘Getting Off the Ground’ the construction company calls for the government to issue clearer aviation policies, stating that these need to be strengthened to prevent the UK from lagging behind other European countries in the aftermath of Brexit.
The issues raised by Balfour Beatty, which have been duly summarised in an article by Ace, are focused on the idea that all airports in the country, and not just Heathrow or Gatwick, should be developed to better link the different parts of the UK together. It argued that while it supports the plan to construct the new runway at Heathrow, it said that it is not nearly enough to boost the economy to best benefit the country post-Brexit.
In the report, the contractor expressed doubt that the Heathrow expansion plan will push through in the first place, given the odd timeline, as well as the strong opposition to the project. The environmental hazards of developing an additional runway has been raised by those contesting the construction. Once this is completed, Heathrow stands to be the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the country. It would also worsen the level of noise pollution within the area.
Nonetheless, Balfour Beatty also raised the concern that delays in the work could mean the UK being overtaken by other European states. By developing the airport, the country will be able to retain its competitive edge in trade.
The report stated, “The government should now develop a national aviation strategy, which considers the country’s future aviation needs holistically and addresses the contribution of all the UK’s airports that can make to improving the UK’s global connectivity, driving growth across the country”.
According to Construction News, the government plans to implement this project from 2020 to 2025.
Last year, the government decided to expand Heathrow instead of Gatwick. However, iNews reported that Steven Wingate, the head of Gatwick, has not given up on his plan for expansion, stating that he was continuing to put pressure on the powers above for the construction of a second runway at the airport. Gatwick is currently the busiest single-runway airport in the world, with an estimated 43 million passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2016.
As previously reported on Confessions Of A Trolley Dolly, there really is a need to expand airports, given the large volume of people travelling to and from London. Heathrow is already operating at 98% capacity.
Despite this need, however, the earlier article also cautions passengers that the progression of the Heathrow airport expansion could also mean pricier plane tickets. The price of flying is already expected to spike due to Brexit according to a blog post by airport car parking specialists Parking4Less. A further increase in the cost of plane tickets could very well mean that fewer people will now be able to afford to fly. Hence why many are questioning whether the UK really needs these expansions.