Lancashire business leaders welcome Heathrow runway plan

The proposed extension of Heathrow Airport (s).
The proposed extension of Heathrow Airport (s).
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Lancashire business leaders have welcomed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Werstern Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We believe that businesses throughout the UK need the best air links if they are to deliver growth, jobs and investment.

We believe that businesses throughout the UK need the best air links if they are to deliver growth, jobs and investment.

Babs Murphy

“For that reason, we support the expansion of our global hub airport at Heathrow, as well as new runways at other airports in the South East, such as Gatwick and Stansted. All three airports have private sector investors who stand ready to invest in increased capacity, which is absolutely critical at a time of public sector financial constraint.”

She added: “Increased aviation capacity in the South East will help to drive international trade, encourage inward investment, attract tourists and create jobs.

“So too will a concerted effort to develop new routes to global markets from great regional cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.”

After three years of investigation, the Airports Commission said yesterday that Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity.

But the move was met with strong resistance from local people – and landed the Prime Minister with a huge headache. David Cameron will have to decide, probably later this year, whether to accept the recommendation, risking a rebellion from figures including London Mayor Boris Johnson.

He will also be performing a humiliating U-turn on his own “no ifs, no buts” promise made years ago that Heathrow expansion would not go ahead.

Mr Johnson, seen as a potential successor to Mr Cameron, made clear his continued opposition to an expanded Heathrow, predicting that a third runway “will never be built”.

But business leaders and unions welcomed the commission’s report.

They say it will pave the way for tens of thousands of new jobs and give a huge boost to the economy.

The commission opted for a new, full-length runway at Heathrow rather than expanding one of the airport’s current runways or building a new one at Gatwick.