BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

  • *


    Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

Heathrow airport expansion approved by government

Abbreviated version of article first published in on 25th October 2016.

Industry groups welcome decision and urge Heathrow to "swiftly move forward" with construction plans.

Events and tourism industries have welcomed the government's long-awaited decision to expand Heathrow airport, but say it could still be a long and "arduous" process to get there.

Spokespersons for Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), UKinbound and other representative bodies have urged stakeholders to "swiftly move forward" with development plans, after the decision was announced today.

Ministers backed the recommendation of the Airports Commission to expand Heathrow rather than Gatwick at a cabinet committee meeting.

The Department for Transport said: “In a major boost for the UK economy the government today announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow – the first full length runway in the south-east since the second world war.”

Michael Hirst, chair of BVEP, urged all involved to accelerate the process now a decision was made. "We welcome any decision to increase airport capacity in Britain," he said. "Our only concern is we haven't got a time period for it to happen. It would be good to see the process accelerated as fast as can be, because the quicker we can cement our ability to increase airport capacity, the better our international footprint for business events.

"The decision is the start of the process; let's now focus on the plan to carry it out, as we're going to go through what could be quite an arduous process to get the job done. Those of us in business, especially business events, want to see that job done as quickly as possible."

James Heappey MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Events threw his weight behind airport expansion at Heathrow in July.

He said: “I think Heathrow is the only show in town and we should get on with it. The UK is losing ground to our European neighbours at exactly the time when we need to be racing out in front to mitigate the impacts of Brexit. If our strategy post-Brexit is to trade not just with Europe but increasingly with the world beyond, we need airports with the capacity to connect with those new markets.”

Conservative MP and former candidate for London mayor Zac Goldsmith is set to resign his Richmond Park seat in protest at the decision. Foreign secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson has also been a vocal critic of Heathrow expansion.


BVEP chairman Michael Hirst: “Let’s just get on with it”
Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) chairman Michael Hirst has been championing the increased aviation capacity campaign Let Britain Fly for the last few years. He told CN: “We [BVEP] welcome the announcement that Heathrow Airport is to be expanded. For a number of years we have voiced concerns about the time taken to increase infrastructure.

“The timing is important in this post-Brexit world. New markets around the world will be emerging and we need improved connectivity to accommodate them.”

Hirst underlined the fact that BVEP had not opted to “side” with one airport over another, but rather they have campaigned for increased aviation capacity across the entire country.

Hirst hopes that now the decision is made, that the Government will“just get on with it.”

Event Industry Board Chairman, Nick De Bois says its time to explore a new conference and exhibition centre
Former Conservative MP for Enfield Nick De Bois has told CN that the announcement makes it a good time to explore a new conference and exhibition centre. He said:”Airport capacity and hub expansion are crucial for Britains continued economic success and for bringing more visitors to Britain for business and leisure tourism. With approval for airport expansion we really can become the No 1 destination of choice for the events sector.

“Let’s also be clear that with such a huge infrastructure project taking place it could be a good time to explore a new conference and exhibition centre that can compete with the best in the world.

“My worry is that having now chosen Heathrow it will be bogged down in legal challenges and delays that will slow the vital investment and delay the economic opportunities and benefits.”