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What's All the Fuss About Another Runway for London?

With no new airport runways built in the UK's south east since World War II, the discussion around the need for a new one and where it will be sited rumbles on. Now it looks as though a decision might be just a few months away, if the EU Referendum doesn't hold up proceedings.

With a decision made, the job market in this area would definitely open up for several professions including civil engineers, planners, quantity surveyors, environmental officers and more.

The Race Continues

The race between the two contenders, Heathrow and Gatwick continuing, we wait to see which will bag the additional runway.

Depending on which camp you're in, there are arguments in favour of both sites. Heathrow is already the busiest airport in the UK and working at full capacity. But it is felt, it could offer an even better service with a third runway. This is also the site of choice for the Airports Commission and many construction companies

In fact, a letter from 13 construction firms has been officially presented to the Chancellor, saying that a third runway at Heathrow would mean a '£15.6bn order book to the UK supply chain and allow the contractors to continue to invest in tens of thousands of skilled jobs (that) this country badly needs.'

While Gatwick feels that geographically it could offer better UK and regional connections. A YouGov poll of 1,000 Londoners has also come out in favour of Gatwick as the site for the new runway. The poll showed 46% of the votes in favour to 34% for Heathrow; the 20% shortfall were undecided.

Greener and Cleaner

The reason the government delayed the decision until this summer is to further research the environmental impact of building a new runway at either location.

The Independent Transport Commission's already compiled report 'states that technology can overcome noise and environmental pollution issues from (a) proposed third runway'.

'The findings suggest that noise and local air quality impacts can be managed downwards given the right mix of operational, policy and technological development, while incremental improvements in carbon emission output are being delivered on an annual basis.'

The developments include improving aircraft efficiency and larger aircraft which mean fewer emissions. Work still needs to be done on ground traffic to reduce emissions and improve air quality which is a wider problem. One that many feel needs a change of habit and mindset, so that we are all less likely to depend on cars and more on public transport.

UK Infrastructure

According to the construction industry, there is a great need for industry expansion and the economy. The UK is likely to lose as much as £5 billion in exports by 2030 due to lack of airport capacity unless something is done.

The group of companies also made the point that projects such as the Heathrow expansion allow the industry to invest in tens of thousands of skilled jobs. It will also offer many opportunities for apprenticeships. Both are badly needed here in the UK. These type of projects also foster new construction techniques to be developed.

So with the decision hopefully not too far away, make sure you are in the running for the likely opportunities. If you haven't already registered with us, send us your CV.

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Steve Thomas
Director - Hong Kong & UK Construction Recruitment Specialist

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