Plans for a new north-west runway at Heathrow Airport have been approved in the House of Commons after voting went in favour of the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) on the 25th June. Building work for the third runway could now begin as early as 2021, with the runway potentially becoming operational by 2026.
By providing new international routes, accompanied by an anticipated additional 16 million long-haul seats by 2040 and a doubled freight capacity, the third runway would open-up new routes to emerging markets for a globally connected Great Britain.
The expansion would also bring an immense economic boost to the Thames Valley, with 35,000 jobs and £3.5 billion of GVA expected to be added to the South East economy by 2040, according to an economic assessment commissioned by the Western Wedge partners. With over two-thirds of the UK’s top 300 companies headquartered within a 25-mile radius of Heathrow Airport already, the new runway would assist in ensuring that these companies remain in the region. The greater connectivity generated from the third runway would enhance the attractiveness of the area for other companies and retain the competitive advantage that the Thames Valley region currently has.
The parliamentary approval of the NPS from the House of Commons at the end of June has therefore been welcomed in the Thames Valley. Tim Smith, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Chief Executive commented:
“The decision to support Heathrow expansion is a positive signal from Cabinet about the UK’s future, global connectivity. As the most productive sub-region in the country, Thames Valley Berkshire’s connectivity is very much its USP and is crucial to maintaining both the area’s and UK’s competitive advantage. The LEP has made public its position of support for the expansion of Heathrow since 2012 and this has always been based on sound evidence.”
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