Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Businesses Turn Up Heat over Heathrow Growth

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Businesses Turn Up Heat over Heathrow Growth

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth Regional Affairs Reporter rachel.wearmouth@ncjmedia.co.uk

BUSINESSES across the North are joining forces with firms in Scotland and Northern Ireland to call on David Cameron to approve the expansion of Heathrow Airport without delay.

The North East Chamber of Commerce is among 14 Chambers to sign an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to connect them with the world's emerging markets by backing the third runway.

It reads: "Investors worldwide are watching. Let us send them the message that we are open for business."

The NECC also underlines a failure to back Heathrow expansion will see the region will be shut out of the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The Airports Commission has strongly recommended Heathrow but concern is spreading after the report left the door open to a rival Gatwick proposal.

It comes as senior Tories who oppose Heathrow expansion, which include the London Mayor Boris Johnson, begin to apply pressure. Labour leader Harriet Harman has warned Mr Cameron he could be "bullied by Boris".

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the NECC, says further delays will expose the country as "incapable of making investments in major infrastructure without political trouble".

He said: "We believe Heathrow Airport offers the only option that brings benefits to all regions and nations of the United Kingdom, bringing capacity for exporters, investors and tourism sectors alike.

"Heathrow Airport is especially important to the North East as it is a key link for Newcastle Airport with approximately 500,000 passengers flying there annually, half of which are on business. For the North East to play a significant part in the Northern Powerhouse, we must ensure that our region accessible. It is also critical for the North East's PS4bn tourism economy."

He added: "The economic bene-fits of a third runway at Heathrow Airport are way in advance of any other options. …

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