» Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Asked if there would be an annoucement shortly on Heathrow, the PMS said he could confirm that there would be an announcement in January.

Asked whether he would characterise the discussion on Heathrow as consensual, the PMS replied that there had been a number of discussions across Cabinet about this decision, due to the cross-departmental nature of the decision, as people would expect.

The announcement when it came would not only be about Heathrow but would also include announcements in relation to some wider transport and infrastructure projects related to that as well. There had been discussions between Cabinet Ministers, there was a brief discussion at Cabinet and there would be further discussions of specific items of detail in the days ahead. This was a normal part of the decision-making process.

Asked whether this was the first time the matter had been discussed at Cabinet, the PMS said that the Government had already taken a policy decision in principle in favour of additional capacity at Heathrow subject to meeting the important conditions on air quality, noise and access and that had been Government policy for some time now.

The final decision on whether to go ahead with this and what form any expansion should take was the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport and we had already said that we would make that announcement this month. That decision would be subject to the proper decision-making processes across Government as people would expect.

Asked what the purpose of the discussion was, the PMS replied that he would not get into specifics of the Cabinet discussion. Asked for the tone of the discussion, the PMS said it had been a constructive discussion. Put that more details were sometimes given out, the PMS said he would not normally get into the specifics of who said what.

Asked about the detail of the policy, the PMS said that the policy decision in principle in favour of additional capacity at Heathrow had been taken some time ago. This was always subject to the meeting of important specific conditions on air quality, noise and access.

Put that the Prime Minister would be meeting Labour MP s who opposed the expansion of Heathrow and was it true that an announcement had been delayed in order for that meeting to take place, the PMS said that he had no information on that meeting and he did not accept the premise of the question because the timetable since before Christmas had been that an announcement would be made in January.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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