Having approved a new nuclear plant at Hinckley Point, the next big infrastructure decision in Theresa May’s stacked in-tray is that vexed question – dodged by politicians for decades – of where to build Britain’s much-needed new airport capacity.
In July 2015, the five-person Airports Commission, appointed by David Cameron to shelve the issue until after the May general election, gave “unanimous backing” to a third runway at Heathrow. It looked almost certain Europe’s largest airport would get the all-important government nod.
After years of negotiations, posturing and pencil-sucking, plus a final review by our new Prime Minister, the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Hinckley Point was approved last week. I think that was wrong.
My reasons have little to do with the major role overseas interests will play in developing the UK’s first new nuclear station in over two decades. French atomic giant EDF is to build the £18bn Somerset plant, ending-up as the two-thirds majority shareholder. And the Chinese government will provide another third of the cash. I have no particular problem with that.