Heathrow expansion ‘vital’ to post-Brexit trade

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The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says an expanded Heathrow Airport will be vital to support the UK’s global trading ambitions post-Brexit.

Reacting positively to the contents of Heathrow Limited’s Airport Expansion Consultation, which closes today (September 13), FTA is urging the Department for Transport (DfT) to support Heathrow’s vision so the airport can press ahead with construction and, ultimately, usher in new opportunities for global trade.  

Alex Veitch, head of multimodal policy at FTA, said: “FTA was thrilled by the Government’s decision to expand Heathrow Airport because of the opportunity it will offer to develop the UK’s trading base; air freight growth has stalled in recent years due to capacity constraints, while a third runway is vital to achieve Britain’s global trading aspirations, especially after the UK leaves the EU.

“The Airport Expansion Consultation lays out a comprehensive airport growth strategy which supports and expands the nation’s trading opportunities: FTA is urging the Department for Transport to support Heathrow Limited’s ambition so it can press ahead with construction.” 

Within the consultation is a proposal to introduce a Heathrow Ultra-Low Emission Zone (HULEZ) by 2022.

Under this plan, any passenger or private hire vehicle entering the airport which does not meet prescribed emission standards will be fined; the goal of this scheme is to encourage passengers to use public transport or invest in cleaner vehicles.  

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of urban policy, said: “While we support the urgent need to improve air quality, Heathrow Airport is right to exclude freight vehicles from the scheme: environmentally friendly HGVs and vans are already flooding the market and HGVs will be subject to a tightening of the London-wide Low Emission Zone from next year.

“As such, including freight vehicles within the HULEZ would present no long-term benefit to air quality.” 

Veitch continued: “We agree with Heathrow Limited’s proposals for managing the construction of the third runway and associated infrastructure.

“We are also pleased to see rail freight is poised to play a significant part in the construction phase, which will provide a notable boost to rail freight at national level and will improve the environmental and social footprint of the project. 

“Heathrow’s proposals for the night-time operation of the third runway reflect the legal requirement for reduced services.

“We will work with the Government and industry to make sure the proposed operations are workable; the plans must strike a fair compromise between the needs of UK businesses, consumers and local residents. 

“We look forward to working closely with the government and stakeholders as the detail for noise controls develops.” 

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods, says the FTA.

With Brexit, it says that new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.

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