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Philip Davies MP & Mary Glindon MP: The North needs Heathrow expansion – a decision must be taken in the national interest

3 min read

Tory MP Philip Davies and Labour's Mary Glindon MP writes for PoliticsHome on the airport expansion decision, saying 'any further delay is unnecessary and risks adding to economic uncertainty.'

The debate over Europe has been long and heated. It has divided parties and families. But now that the country has had its say, there are immediate actions that the Government needs to take to show we are an outward looking trading nation, and to provide the economic stimulus that the country would benefit from.

Our new future will require more businesses to sell their goods and services to new markets. We have decided to go out to the world beyond Europe – particularly the fast-growing economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. But this will be much, much harder without first-rate connections to these markets. And this is why we are united in our disappointment that the Government have not given Heathrow* expansion the green light.

Our joint appeal may surprise some people and not just because we are MPs from different parties. There may be some who believe that whether or not Heathrow gets a new runway is primarily a decision which impacts London and the south-east.

But Heathrow is, of course, far more than a local airport. It is the UK’s gateway to the world and our biggest port. Ensuring it has the capacity for new routes and more frequent flights is critical to the future of the North and all of the UK. 

This is not just our opinion. It is the opinion of the CBI and the TUC. It also the view of the independent Airports Commission after the most detailed study of UK aviation needs for a generation. After an inquiry lasting three years, the Commission’s recommendation was unanimous and unequivocal that expanding Heathrow is the best choice for Britain.

The report found that a new runway at Britain’s only hub airport would boost the national economy by up to £211 billion, creating as many as 180,000 new jobs. Importantly, it found that the North stands to gain over 31,600 new jobs and £25.5bn in economic benefits from an expanded Heathrow so that our constituents and those in surrounding areas can share fairly in the country’s prosperity.

Heathrow is already hugely important to exports and investment. It now connects businesses to 75 destinations not served by any other UK airport. With a third runway, it could open up 40 new international routes by 2030.  These improved connections will be vital to enable businesses in the North, big and small alike, to compete and succeed on the international stage.

But an expanded Heathrow is also important, as the Commission report made clear, to maintain, strengthen and expand flight connections within the UK. At the moment, the lack of capacity is seeing domestic flights between airports in the North and the nation’s only hub squeezed out.

Putting this right is one of the reasons why expansion at Heathrow has such strong backing from businesses and from MPs on all sides of the political divide in our regions. They, like us, want to see the North make the most of its rich potential.

Any further delay is unnecessary and risks adding to economic uncertainty. Approval for a new runway at Heathrow would give a clear signal that the UK is still open for business, and that the Government will make decisions in the national interest to unlock economic growth and job creation in the North and across the entire country. 



*Heathrow is a member of PoliticsHome

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