Parliamentary vote could threaten expansion at Heathrow

A defeat for the government in a Parliamentary vote tonight could threaten industry hopes of a speedy expansion of Heathrow.

The vote on plans to streamline the planning systemis due this evening with more than 60 Labour MPs threatening to join the opposition and vote down the government.

Government proposals would strip local councils of the right to decide whether major infrastructure projects go ahead, with decisions left to a commission of appointees. The process of consultation would also be shortened.

Ministers argue the scheme, which is widely supported by business, would speed up the planning process. They believe a third runway at Heathrow, as well as a new generation of nuclear reactors, could be built more quickly as a result.

Opponents point out it would remove control of planning from elected representatives and want a ministerial veto.

ABTA favours a speedier planning process. However, trade relations manager Susan Parsons said: “It is essential things are speeded up, but subject to the necessary checks and balances. There should be adequate public consultation.”

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