Heathrown expansion 'will be delayed by up to three years'

Reports that a new runway at Heathrow "will be delayed by up to three years" while the Prime Minister has revived his idea of building a bridge to link Scotland and Northern Ireland feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription) reports that the Civil Aviation Authority "said that it expected the third runway to open by 2029, subject to planning permission, rather than the original target of 2026, as a longer planning and construction period was needed to reduce upfront costs."

The Times also reports that the Prime Minister has again raised the prospect of a bridge to link Scotland and Northern Ireland after Brexit, telling MPs yesterday: "Watch this space." The paper says that yesterday he was asked in the Commons by Ian Paisley, the DUP MP, whether the prospect of a "Boris bridge" spanning the Irish Sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland was still being considered. Johnson said: "As for [Mr Paisley’s] desire for a bridge to connect the two biggest isles in the British Isles all I can say is it is a very interesting idea. And I advise him to watch this space, and indeed . . . watch that space between those islands because what he has said has not fallen on deaf ears."

Times columnist Ian Martin says the government needs to look at regenerating northern towns to maintain Conservative support there. He writes that "properly targeted, regeneration can help create the conditions for a surge of enterprise and growth, which is what these towns need. Couple it with planning reform to speed redevelopment. Slash corporation tax for start-up businesses. Boost further education to retrain the local workforce, with an emphasis on technology."

The Guardian reports that "the proportion of the UK’s power generation mix made up by fossil fuels has fallen to a record low after renewable energy became the UK’s largest source of electricity". The paper says that "government figures showed the UK relied on renewables, such as wind and solar, for 38.9% of its electricity in the third quarter of this year, up from one-third in the same period in 2018."

An article in The Financial Times (subscription) says the economic gap between London and the remainder of the UK deepened last year. The paper reports that "the UK capital recorded a 1.1 per cent annual rise in output per person to £54,700 in 2018, increasing the per capita gap with the poorest region — the North East — where growth was only 0.4 per cent to £23,600 per head."

Another article in The Guardian says that the UK's house price growth will continue to be subdued at one per cent to three per cent in 2020. The newspaper’s money editor Patrick Collinson writes that "despite talk of a ‘Boris bounce’ after the election result, most major property institutions are forecasting that price rises in 2020 will be limited".

The Manchester Evening News reports that the city’s "iconic" Belle Vue greyhound stadium will be demolished as plans for building 250 new homes on the site have been given the green light by the councillors. The newspaper says that "the plans include a mix of homes and apartments for private sale and private rent. 35 affordable homes, 14 percent of the total, will also be delivered by housing group Great Places."

London’s Evening Standard says the capital could get its first speciality emergency hospital. The newspaper reports that the proposed hospital would be built in Sutton and would "have a major A&E, critical care, emergency surgery, maternity and children’s in-patient beds."

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