Heathrow decision 'paused' over air quality concerns

Reports that a final decision on a third runway at Heathrow Airport is set to be put back to next year - and claims that the Prime Minister faces a series of senior resignations if the runway is approved - feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that business groups have hit out at any further delays to expanding Heathrow as Prime Minister David Cameron’s "own advisers urge him to postpone any final decision until after the London mayoral elections next May". According to the newspaper, one official close to the process said Cameron "was likely to back the third runway this month, but make approval contingent on further environmental studies".

The Times (subscription required) says that the final decision on Heathrow is set to be put back to next year, with the Prime Minister blaming the delay "on doubts that a third runway could meet air quality standards". The newspaper reports that Heathrow and Gatwick expect David Cameron to delay making a final decision. "Air quality has emerged as a key factor, with the VW emissions scandal adding to doubts that a bigger Heathrow could ever meet EU pollution standards," according to the newspaper. "The Prime Minister is minded to use uncertainty over testing models to justify the pause, say senior ministers involved."

The Sunday Telegraph reports that David Cameron is "facing the threat of resignations from senior Tories as his party broke into open conflict over plans for a new runway at Heathrow". According to the newspaper, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Justine Greening, the international development secretary, "warned they would fight any plan to expand west London’s major airport".

The Daily Telegraph reports that Zac Goldsmith, the Tory candidate for mayor of London, "is prepared to stand down as an MP before the New Year even if David Cameron delays a final decision on building a new runway at Heathrow". "Senior Conservatives said that unless there is a ‘spectacular fudge’, it is likely that Goldsmith will still resign before the year is out, saying the move could boost his standing in the London mayoral elections," the newspaper reports.

The Guardian reports that an "influential alliance of businesses and trade unions has warned David Cameron not to bow to threats of a Conservative cabinet revolt over the approval of a third runway at Heathrow". According to the newspaper, the British Chambers of Commerce, London First, the Federation of Small Businesses, the TUC and the Labour-affiliated union Unite "wrote to Cameron warning him not to pander to defiant cabinet members".

The Independent on Sunday reports that Sheffield City Council’s leader has warned that chancellor George Osborne’s plans for a Northern Powerhouse will be "seriously undermined" by High Speed Two taking the wrong route through Sheffield. According to the newspaper, the team behind the £55.7 billion railway, HS2 Ltd, has drawn up a route that thats the line to Meadowhall on the outskirts of Sheffield, "but local politicians are determined to reap the economic benefits of having the station in the centre of the city".

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Prime Minister will today announce that nearly 200,000 people will be able to get on the housing ladder under a major extension of the government’s shared ownership scheme. According to the newspaper, David Cameron will scrap rules "so that anyone who earns less than £90,000 in London and £80,000 outside the capital will be able to buy a home. At present homes in the scheme are often reserved by councils for key workers. He will also remove restrictions which bar people from taking advantage of the scheme more than once".


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