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News Archive > General > MP issues plea on runway

MP issues plea on runway

By Simon Fernley 27th July 2016

MP issues plea on runway
MP Steve Double wants a swift decision on a new runway

NEWQUAY’S MP has joined an influential group of Cornish business and political leaders to call for a rapid decision on a new runway in the South East following Brexit.

Steve Double has added his name to a letter written to new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling stating the vote to leave the European Union means airport expansion is all the more vital to the prosperity of the UK and its regions.

Britain has spent years pondering whether to expand Heathrow or its rival Gatwick to provide additional capacity in the South East and a decision from the new government of Theresa May is expected in the coming months.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport and operating at close to full capacity, has been campaigning to build an extra runway, but a decision has been delayed by successive governments worried about pollution and local opposition.

The team behind the Heathrow plans have previously stated that should a third runway get the go-ahead slots would be made available for connections to regional airports, and named Newquay as one of those they would support.

They say the expansion would enable Cornwall to attract a “large, new group of visitors to the region” as Heathrow has more than 30 million foreign tourists passing through its terminals every year – almost four times more than any other UK airport. The team also believes the aerospace cluster growing around Cornwall Airport Newquay could benefit through the expansion as it would be within striking distance of the biggest names in the industry that are based in California, Carolina and China.

The letter, which has been coordinated by the airport expansion campaign group Let Britain Fly, reads: “We are writing to express our concern with regards to the latest delay in making a final decision on airport expansion. It has now been over a year since the Airports Commission published its final report and, while each of the schemes shortlisted was considered a credible option, unanimously concluded a new runway at Heathrow presents the strongest case.

“This followed two-and-a-half years of examining the evidence, at a cost of millions of pounds to the taxpayer.

“It is clear that following the vote to leave the EU the economic case for a new runway has never been stronger. In order to do more trade with the rest of the globe, especially growth economies like Brazil and China, then having sufficient air links to those countries is essential.

“Furthermore the decision to build a new runway is not just about London and the South East, it is a decision that affects the economic prosperity of the nations and regions of the UK, including perceived peripheral regions such as Cornwall. By value, 40% of all UK exports go via air, this includes iconic British goods such as Cornish clotted cream. Furthermore, London’s airports play a key role in supporting Cornwall’s thriving tourism sector and in helping us to attract increasing numbers of international high value visitors.

“And whilst Cornwall Airport Newquay is lucky to currently have connections to both Gatwick and Stansted airports, we have no connection to our only international hub airport Heathrow.

By Simon Fernley 27th July 2016

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