All the major UK political parties have promised in their election policy documents to respond to the Airports Commission’s final report, which is expected to be published after the national plebiscite on 7 May.
The commission was set up in 2012 by the coalition government of Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties that came to power after the May 2010 general election. The commission will publish its final report after 7 May, recommending how runway capacity can be increased in South East England. It has already published reports identifying a need for additional capacity before 2030 and three options.
The options are, a second runway for Gatwick Airport, a third runway for Heathrow Airport and an extension of one of Heathrow’s two existing runways.
The governing Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat party published their policy documents, known in the UK as manifestos, on 14 and 15 April, respectively. The main opposition party, the Labour Party, published its on 13 April. Its policy is to: “make a swift decision on expanding airport capacity in London and the South East.” The Conservative’s policy is to: “respond to the Airports Commission’s final report.”
The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto says: “We will carefully consider the conclusions of the [Airports Commission] into runway capacity.” However, the manifesto also says: “We will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK.” The Liberal Democrats were not available for comment.
Opinion polls indicate no party will gain enough seats to have a majority and govern. Another coalition is likely, with the Labour Party led by Ed Milliband either working formally in government, perhaps with the Liberal Democrats, or informally with other parties.