Government Drops Heathrow Expansion as Ministerial Priority

Rail Minister and Lancashire MP Andrew Stephenson has been given his portfolio, taking on responsibility for HS2, on top of overseeing the Transpennine route and Northern Powerhouse Rail. The appointment comes following Boris’ commitment to get control of the project’s spiraling costs. Initially the Government estimated the cost of HS2 would be £32.7 billion – saying at the time it would bring £46.9 billion worth of benefits. The cost has now ballooned to at least £106 billion. Stephenson will have a job on his hands…

Paul Maynard, whom Andrew Stephenson replaces, had “Aviation (including Heathrow expansion)” as one of the subjects within his portfolio. Now on the Department for Transport website, published overnight, any specific mention of Heathrow has been dropped, it no longer features under any of the Ministers’ remits. This much needed, no cost to the taxpayer, infrastructure boost for the global cargo trade which flows through Heathrow doesn’t seem to warrant a minister’s interest. This may be a reshuffle oversight or it might signal something about the commitment of this government…
Kelly Tolhurst has responsibility for aviation, with no explicit stated brief for expansion. What are we to (not) read into this?
UPDATE: A belligerent DfT spokesman gets in touch to spin “Heathrow expansion is included in the aviation brief and it’s only a stylistic difference. Nothing should be read into it.” In addition to the current legal delays there does seem to be a lack of will at the top to get this done. When the PM was asked at PMQs a few weeks ago about the building of a third runway at Heathrow he said “I see no bulldozers at present, nor any immediate prospect of them arriving.”
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mdi-timer February 19 2020 @ 13:05 mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer
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