MPs welcome decision for extra runway at Heathrow Airport

Amber Rudd MP at the jobs fair
Amber Rudd MP at the jobs fair
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1066 Country MPs Amber Rudd and Huw Merriman have welcomed the government’s decision to create extra airport capacity.

The recommendation that Heathrow be expanded is expected to be worth more than £61 billion to the wider economy over sixty years and will generate 77,000 jobs over the next 14 years.

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, said: “The government’s decision to endorse the independent Airports Commission’s recommendation for a new runway at Heathrow will secure Britain’s strong links with global partners and growing markets.

“Passengers will benefit from a greater choice of airlines, destinations and flight times, and the UK will be better connected to the world creating thousands of jobs, boosting our economy and creating new opportunities for businesses.”

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, said: “Both Heathrow and Gatwick delivered strong bids to win preferred status for airport expansion. Following the decision by the government to recommend expansion of Heathrow, I have written to both airports.

“To Heathrow, I have offered my congratulations and urged them to ensure that they push for early completion.

“To Gatwick, I offered my commiserations and assured them that, as a Sussex MP representing many of their employees, I will do all I can to support their existing business.

“Expansion of Gatwick may have brought economic benefits to the constituency but it could have impacted some residents via noise pollution.

“Expansion of Heathrow was supported as the preferred option by the Transport Select Committee which I sit on. I look forward to using my position on this committee to ensure the expansion of Heathrow becomes a reality.”

However, the decision was not welcomed by everybody.

County council chiefs expressed their disappointment after Gatwick was overlooked for a new runway – but vowed to continue to back the Sussex airport in its long-term ambition to expand.

East Sussex County Council gave its backing to proposals to build a second runway at Gatwick following a vote of the full council last year.

The authority argued that a new runway at Gatwick could be built quicker, cheaper and with less impact than Heathrow, and would create up to 63,000 new jobs.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “We’re naturally disappointed by the decision as we felt expanding Gatwick would not only provide a huge economic boost to East Sussex but would be the best solution for the south east and the UK as a whole.

“However, we do welcome the fact that a decision has been made so that the uncertainty is finally over and local residents and businesses affected by expansion now know where they stand.

“There’s no doubt the plan to expand Heathrow will face a long and difficult road and many obstacles, and it would seem sensible for Gatwick to ensure it remains ready to step up in case this option comes back to the table in future.

“The capacity issue remains a high priority and if Heathrow proves problematic it may open further consideration to Gatwick.

“In the meantime, we will continue to support Gatwick in its long-term aim of building a new runway and to work with the airport to discuss future options for expansion.”

Meanwhile, the council also pledged to continue to work with Gatwick to implement 23 objectives agreed by all appropriate authorities to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local residents.

The authority has already successfully campaigned for measures to reduce aircraft noise and been instrumental in the setting up of a multi-agency noise management board to look at ways of reducing noise nuisance.

Cllr Simmons said: “Expanding Gatwick would actually have offered more control over measures to tackle issues such as noise as these would have been enshrined in the planning process that would have come with a new runway.

“However, we will continue to lobby for measures to reduce aircraft noise, and in particular for steeper ascents and descents and rotation of flight paths to reduce the impact on residents.”

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