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Institute of Directors calls for locations of two more runways to be chosen

The Institute of Directors has urged the next government to increase airport capacity by launching a follow-up Airports Commission to recommend locations for two new runways.

The IoD said that time is of the essence, as Heathrow’s third runway will not be completed until 2028 and Gatwick racing towards filling its capacity, meaning the Commission should only be given 12 months to report its findings.

The recommendations are the latest in a series of manifesto papers, collectively titled ‘Let’s Push Things Forward’, from the IoD that put forward businesses’ priorities for making the UK more economically competitive.

The IoD said the length of time taken to decide to build a third runway at Heathrow was unacceptable and was only finalised once the process was handed over to an independent commission led by Sir Howard Davies.

The business group would like to see this process replicated, albeit on a much quicker timescale.

The manifesto papers also called for:

  • Drive forward ultrafast broadband and 4G coverage, replacing the Universal Service Obligation with a much more ambitious target The Government must set a target to ‘switch-off’ the copper network by 2025 and reduce access costs to existing physical infrastructure to everyone has access to the greater speeds of fibre optic cable
  • Engine and consult on longer-term projects Regional growth means investing in infrastructure, often by bringing out-of-date existing networks into the 21st century. Larger projects, like the proposed ‘HS3’, should be consulted upon to ensure that their design delivers most efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Outline a roadmap towards the building of Crossrail 2 Recognising that there are resource limitations to the building of new infrastructure, the Government should put together a plan for progressing with Crossrail 2
  • Establish an infrastructure Best Value Index It is essential to start scoring pipeline projects against each other to identify the best return on investment when resources are scarce
  • Build a database on UK roads covering traffic, accidents, costs and air pollution Roads are the hardest-working muscles in the UK’s transport infrastructure but we know too little about them. The more information we have about them, the more efficient our investment can be
  • Bring in speed targets for buses and repurpose roads to better suit space-friendly buses Buses might not be the most glamorous form of transport, but they are a crucial part of our transport network and we need to ensure they are moving as efficiently as possible

Dan Lewis, Senior Infrastructure Adviser at the Institute of Directors said: “Whoever wins the next election, they will face a serious challenge in upgrading the UK’s transport and communications network.

The years of dawdling on new airport capacity have left us lagging well behind European competitors. Expanding Heathrow is not enough, we need two further runways at South East airports and better connections to the ones where there is spare capacity, particularly Stansted.”

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