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Public must demand new runways or nothing will happen says business group

Leaders of some of Britain’s biggest firms have made an appeal to the public, calling on them to sign a pledge demanding politicians back new runways in London and the South East.

A recent survey by the Office of National Statistics showed a majority (59%) of the British public support the construction of new runways, and the Let Britain Fly Pledge, aims to give this “silent majority” a voice in the national debate.

The business leaders, including the heads of Harrods, international manufacturer Kesslers, construction giant Mace, property firm SEGRO, and global law firm Linklaters, urged the British public to speak out on the issue, which they say is crucial to supporting future jobs and growth in the UK.

The Let Britain Fly Pledge aims to put pressure on the leaders of the UK’s political parties, calling on them to:

1.    Make a public pledge to build more runway capacity and commit to this in their 2015 election manifestos

2.    Ensure a Parliamentary vote on airports expansion in 2016 at the latest.

Using email and social media in the run-up to the election, the campaign aims to engage hundreds of thousands of people across the country ahead of the release of the Airports Commission’s final recommendations next summer.

In the coming months the campaign will also criss-cross the country, staging a roadshow of events in, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Liverpool and will have a high-profile presence at the forthcoming party political conferences in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. 

Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly, said: “It’s not just a short-list of options we need, but the political will to do something – without cross party commitment none of these proposals will get past the drawing board, that’s why we are urging the public to speak out on the need for vital new runways.

“Often in the public debate on airports expansion we hear loudly the concerns of those people who are against; Let Britain Fly now wants to create the space and opportunity for the ‘silent majority’ of people who are in favour of expansion to also have their say. 

“The evidence suggests that a majority supports airports expansion, and understands the need to support jobs and growth across the country. Today we are giving them a chance to speak out on this important issue by signing the Let Britain Fly Pledge and demonstrating to politicians that voters think this issue is of national importance.”

Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace, said: “If the UK and particularly London is to meet our growth challenges and remain a leading world city, our airports must have the capacity to meet these demands. The construction industry has the capacity to deliver infrastructure projects much quicker. Together with government assistance, and the airport owners and operators, we can meet the demands ahead of the current envisaged schedule and stimulate the economy by increasing employment and investment in to the UK.”