The government will not be able to make a decision on the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport until October at the earliest, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has confirmed.
Mr McLoughlin said that the airport expansion announcement will not be made until after the summer recess of parliament because of recent events and no such announcement will be made until a new Conservative Party leader has been appointed.
The Transport Secretary told the House of Commons that he is very hopeful that a decision on the issue can be made later in the year.
The topic of airport expansion in the South East of England is so politically charged that four years ago the government commissioned Sir Howard Davies to lead an independent commission to propose the best course of action.
Among its proposals were a new airport in the Thames estuary and a second runway at Gatwick and its final report in July last year recommended a third runway at Heathrow.
Having received that recommendation, the government promised a response by the end of last year, however it was announced at the end of 2015 that such a decision has been put back until the summer of this year as more studies were required on the potential impacts on air quality that a Heathrow expansion would bring.
Some argue that the government will now avoid making a tough decision yet again in the wake of the political chaos that has resulted from the result of the EU referendum.
Nick Baveystock, Director General of the Institution of Civil Engineers, admitted that the news is disappointing and explained that the government commissioned a full review into the issue in order to pinpoint the best option for expansion in the UK, which resulted in a clear recommendation.
Mr Baveystock recognises the difficult political circumstances at present but insists they need a bold strategic decision now more than ever.