Mersey chamber chief urges Prime Minister to act quickly to ensure Heathrow third runway goes ahead

Jenny Stewart, chief executive of Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce, says the runway offers a ‘golden opportunity’ for regional economies such as Merseyside. Tony McDonough reports.

Heathrow wants to build a third runway. Picture by David Dyson
Heathrow wants to build a third runway. Picture by David Dyson

A Liverpool city region business leader is urging the Government to act quickly to ensure a third runway at Heathrow gets built as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, transport secretary Chris Grayling gave his backing to the plan for the runway but there more regulatory hurdles to overcome before work can start.

‘Get a move on’

Jenny Stewart, chief executive of Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce, said the runway offered a “golden opportunity” for regional economies such as Merseyside.

But in an interview with YBNews, she added: “There will be public consultation exercise taking place before the Government publishes a national policy statement on aviation.

“That will have to go before a Parliamentary vote and we would urge Prime Minister Theresa May to get the process moving as quickly as possible.”

Regional links

Liverpool John Lennon Airport chief executive, Andrew Cornish, has also welcomed the decision and told YBNews that, due to possible reorganisation of the airspace above London, an air link with Liverpool could be established in as little as two years.

Heathrow has pledged to offer £10m to support regional air links.

Ms Stewart said that Brexit made it even more crucial that the Government acted quickly to ensure the UK, and its regions, remained competitive.

She explained: “I repeat what I said before about a third runway for Heathrow being a golden opportunity for British business and, in particular, the Liverpool city region and the wider Northern Powerhouse.

Jenny Stewart, CEO of Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce
Jenny Stewart, CEO of Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

“The vote to leave the European Union makes it more important than ever that the Government moves quickly to open up as many new trade routes with the rest of the world as possible.

“Hub airports in Europe are near to full capacity and the UK must have it’s own hub airport to secure future economic growth.

“Members of Liverpool and Sefton Chambers tell us they are keen to maximise opportunities to increase global trade and investment in infrastructure gives businesses confidence.

“For that to happen our city region needs to have global connectivity. A direct hub connection between Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Heathrow can provide that.”

RAF Northolt

Mr Stewart also raised the prospect of a temporary measure that could be implemented before the new runway is operational.

“While we wait for runway to be built RAF Northolt Airport, just a few miles north of Heathrow, could be used as an interim extension to Heathrow – allowing routes to regional airports such as Liverpool to be established,” she said.

“In recent weeks there have been question marks raised over Mrs May’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

“This is her chance to show she is committed to the expansion of our regional economy and the thriving businesses within it.”

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