Local councils from around the UK have become the latest group to join the growing number of voices calling on the government to be bold and back expansion at Heathrow to benefit the whole of the country.
The Leaders of 34 councils, including Oxfordshire, Harrow, Newcastle, Neath Port Talbot and Glasgow have all signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, urging the Government to make the right choice for the whole of Britain and expand Heathrow.
In the letter they say that in these uncertain economic times following the vote to leave the EU, investment in infrastructure is even more important to support growth across the country. They say a ‘green light’ for expansion at Heathrow would create skilled jobs and provide an economic boost to their local economy. They say that Heathrow as the national hub should be able to build on the success of Britain’s network of airports, helping to connect local exporters to growing markets overseas.
Chief Executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, said: “Council leaders from across the country recognise expansion at Heathrow will benefit their local economies by creating skilled jobs and connecting exporters to growing markets overseas. Their support is further evidence that the next Prime Minister has the opportunity to make the right choice in the whole of Britain’s interest by expanding Heathrow.”
Expansion of Heathrow is already backed by business, trade unions, politicians and airlines as the best solution to Britain’s aviation capacity crunch. Supporters include the CBI, Federation of Small Businesses, chambers of commerce across the country, Unite, the GMB, 37 British airports and airlines such as easyJet, which plans to operate from an expanded Heathrow. A large proportion of the community local to Heathrow also supports expansion.
Recent polling by ComRes shows that two thirds of MPs think greenlighting Heathrow expansion will strengthen Britain’s economy. MPs also ranked Heathrow expansion as the top infrastructure project for spreading growth across Britain – ahead of projects like HS2, HS3 and notably with Gatwick expansion last (Heathrow 41% vs Gatwick 3%).
Notes to editors
The full list of councils is as follows:
Cllr Jenny Laing – Aberdeen City Council
Cllr John Beesley – Bournemouth Borough Council
Cllr Martin Tett – Buckinghamshire County Council
Cllr James Jamieson – Central Bedfordshire Council
Cllr Angus Campbell – Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Cllr Thomas Beattie – Corby Borough Council
Cllr Chris Millar – Daventry District Council
Cllr Simon Henig – Durham County Council
Cllr Paul Diviani – East Devon District Council
Cllr Keith House – Eastleigh Borough Council
Cllr Sean Woodward – Fareham Borough Council
Cllr Frank McAveety – Glasgow City Council
Cllr Robert Polhill – Halton Borough Council
Cllr Roy Perry – Hampshire County Council
Cllr Sachin Ramesh Shah – Harrow Borough Council
Cllr Miles Parkinson – Hyndburn Borough Council
Mayor Joe Anderson OBE – Liverpool City Council
Cllr Hazel Simmons – Luton Borough Council
Cllr Nicholas Forbes – Newcastle upon Tyne City Council
Mayor Norma Redfearn – North Tyneside Borough Council
Cllr Carl Les – North Yorkshire County Council
Cllr Alun Thomas OBE – Neath Port Talbot Council
Cllr Mary Markham – Northampton Borough Council
Cllr Ian Hudspeth – Oxfordshire County Council
Cllr Sohail Munawar – Slough Borough Council
Cllr John Cotton – South Oxfordshire District Council
Cllr Iain Malcolm – South Tyneside Borough Council
Cllr Ian Harvey – Spelthorne Borough Council
Cllr Paul Watson – Sunderland City Council
Cllr David Renard – Swindon Borough Council
Cllr John Williams – Taunton Deane Borough Council
Cllr Nicolas Heslop – Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Mayor John Biggs – Tower Hamlets Borough Council
Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew – West Somerset District Council
The full text of the letter is as follows:
Dear Secretary of State,
In uncertain economic times, it is undeniable that investment in Britain’s infrastructure is even more important to support growth across the country. Even during construction, infrastructure development creates skilled jobs and an economic boost for improvements to local economies.
We are an island nation and so it is our airports that connect many of our exporters and their goods to growing markets overseas and are the first impression for tourists, students and investors coming to Britain. Britain’s network of airports is the backbone of the aviation industry – a national success story contributing £50bn a year in growth and supporting 1 million jobs. We should be building on that success and future=proofing it – instead, our national hub, Heathrow, has been constrained for a decade and was recently overtaken by Paris as the world’s best connected airport.
Your Government set up the Airports Commission and after three years of investigation they recommended a clear way forward:
Expand Heathrow, set tough environmental limits and make sure that local people are fairly compensated;
Use high speed rail and a new western rail link to plug Heathrow into the rail network and make sure there is a plan to secure regular, frequent flights from our regions and nations;
During construction make sure skilled jobs are created across the country, up-skilling the nation.
This was their blueprint and it is now time to make a bold decision and put it into action. It’s time to make the right choice and expand Heathrow.