The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the Government's consultation on the expansion at Heathrow and applauds the Secretary of State's courage in taking on a difficult but essential transport infrastructure consultation.
However, as part of the debate, FTA will want to ensure that the capacity requirements of the access routes to the expanded airport will be properly met and will be scrutinising the proposals so that the current runway congestion in the airport is not replaced by chronic congestion on the surrounding motorways and rail network. The lack of proposed capacity increases on the M25 and M4 are of concern and there needs to be more clarity on new rail services to and from the west of England.
FTA Director of Policy, James Hookham says, 'There are aspects of these proposals that we are concerned about because of their knock-on effect on surrounding road and rail routes. FTA has serious concerns regarding the increase in congestion on the M4 and M25 as the economy grows during the next fifteen years and beyond, notwithstanding any development at Heathrow. But the combination of these two factors is certain to lead to more road traffic – evidently with no Government plans to increase roads capacity. This must be a mistake and requires some fresh thinking.
'The nation's future transport needs will not be met with the existing infrastructure and we will need to take tough decisions to keep the UK economy and people moving. Extensive and informed public consultation is the best way to achieve the right outcome for the country. The Government needs to show similar courage on other transport infrastructure schemes. This consultation gives us the chance to achieve the best outcomes for all transport users in this part of West London.'
FTA will be responding to the consultation both in terms of the ramifications for industry with air cargo operations and with interests in road and rail movements.
The Freight Transport Association represents the interests of 14,000 companies from throughout UK trade and industry. Its members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles, almost half the national fleet, and companies moving goods by air, sea and rail.