Heathrow planning permission delayed until 2012

BAA have announced that plans to build a third runway at Heathrow cannot be submitted for planning permission until 2012, after the next election. If we trust the Conservatives (and that's a big if), then the runway won't get built. Cameron and his transport supremo Theresa Villiers have been very, very clear that they would change the Government's planning framework to reject expansion at Heathrow. They're currently leagues ahead of Labour in the polls.

This is the second airport expansion BAA delayed this year: back in February they announced that Stansted would be delayed until 2017 - effectively taking their plans off the table. It must be embarassing for Labour, who spent most of last year rushing through the consultation so that the runway could be brought in during their time in office. Or did Labour's fiddling of figures in the consultation cause the delay?

After weeks of media exposure, no one could possibly think that the consultation was solid enough to last through a public inquiry. Had BAA pushed ahead as planned then every consultant from here to Oxbridge would have been queueing up to have a go at their magic planes and disapearing NOx levels. It would have been open season, and topped off by a new Government waltzing in and scrapping both expansions. Faced with the prostpect of egg all over their faces, is it any wonder they backed off a bit?