Business leaders have called on David Cameron to introduce “irreversible commitments” to new airport capacity in the south east of England.

The director general of the British Chambers of Commerce has written an open letter to the newly re-elected prime minister, calling on him to take “bold action” to ensure the UK’s economic recovery which will be helped by runway expansion.

John Longworth said the Conservative leader must “fight the Whitehall culture”, which is blocking “much needed change”.

This week it was announced that the long-awaited Airports Commission report may be delayed for more public consultation.

The CBI said Cameron must have plans set out on airport expansion within the first 100 days and ensure “diggers are on the ground by 2020”.

“Air links are a key catalyst for opening up new markets, creating new trade and export opportunities,” the organisation representing British businesses said.

“Any further delays to addressing the UK’s aviation capacity will mean we see the limits of our infrastructure translate into limits on our growth prospects.

“New hub capacity – alongside action that develops our network of point-to-point airports across the UK – will boost connectivity with new markets most effectively. With new technologies already in the pipeline we can meet projected demand growth while reducing noise and emissions,” it added.

Yesterday, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye renewed calls for expanding Heathrow saying it delivers “exactly what the UK economy needs”.

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