The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says freight forwarders support the UK’s Transport Committee’s criticism of aviation dithering.
On Wednesday this week, the committee criticised the UK Government over a decision on the expansion of UK airport capacity, which has received strong support from the trade association that represents the UK’s freight forwarding and logistics businesses.
The government is expected to make a decision by the summer on the whether to add a third runway at Heathrow Airport or a second runway at Gatwick Airport, although some reports suggest it will be put on hold until the autumn.
BIFA director general, Robert Keen says: “The 1,500 companies within BIFA share the Transport Committee’s belief that the delay risks damaging UK economic growth by deterring investors uncertain about the future of Britain’s communications.
“BIFA agrees with the Transport Committee that the UK must stop ‘dithering’, make a decision and set out a timetable for completing the project.
“We have already stated that last December’s announcement to delay a decision on the matter, was about political expediency, not environmental matters.
“Like the Transport Committee, we accept that the package of measures to mitigate environmental impacts needs careful consideration and further work. We do not accept that all of this needs to be done before a decision is taken on location. In fact a decision on location would give more focus and impetus to this work.
“As the Transport Committee states, the detailed and evidence-based work of the Airports Commission on environmental issues provides an ideal starting point for any further work on environmental issues to be undertaken in parallel with the other pre-construction work.
“The absence of a decision on location creates uncertainty, which is exacerbated by the lack of clarity the Government has created about exactly when a decision will be taken.”
He says five months on, the UK’s freight forwarding community, which is the engine of Britain’s international trade, is still waiting for the Government to stop playing “political football” with the issue of aviation capacity and make a decision.