By Marcus Leach

News that the government is to delay consultation over expanding airports in south-east England, amid reports of disagreements on how to go ahead, has been met with disappointment the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Discussions on possible runway expansions to Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted, as well as proposals to build a new Thames Estuary airport, look set to be delayed until next year.

It is the second time a consultation on aviation has been postponed, with businesses saying that expansion is vital, but green groups argue it will be damaging.

“We have no time to lose in getting on with solving the UK’s aviation capacity issues, if we are to double our exports by 2020," John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said.

"So the further delay to the Government’s call for evidence on future capacity is disappointing.

“Everyone understands this is a difficult issue, and not one with any easy answers. However, political deadlock is getting us nowhere, and every day the UK is losing out to its European rivals on new routes to growing markets.

“We must break this deadlock and build a political consensus, so that we encourage growth, increase our exports and create jobs."

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