Decision on airport expansion 'delayed until October'

A decision on airport expansion has been delayed until at least October following Britain's vote to leave the EU, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said.

David Cameron had been expected to confirm whether an expansion on Heathrow or Gatwick would be approved in the coming weeks if the UK voted to remain in the EU.

However, the prime minister's decision to resign after the Brexit vote means the decision on airport expansion will likely be deferred until a new Conservative leader is elected.

"Being realistic, given recent events, I cannot now foresee an announcement," Mr McLoughlin said.

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of business group London First, commented: "Clearly this is disappointing. Nothing can be more vital for a trading island than sufficient air links, especially after the referendum result.

"There should be no question that whoever takes over from David Cameron must keep the government's commitment to open a new runway by 2030."

Gavin Hayes, director of campaign group Let Britain Fly, added: "There is too much economic turmoil right now to delay this any longer."

The Department for Transport announced in December that further investigation into noise, pollution and compensation would be carried out before a decision on airport expansion is made.