Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Heathrow Runway Plan Would Have 'Negligible' Benefit for North East, Says Campaign Group; CLAIMS OVER AIRPORT EXPANSION PROPOSALS RUBBISHED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Heathrow Runway Plan Would Have 'Negligible' Benefit for North East, Says Campaign Group; CLAIMS OVER AIRPORT EXPANSION PROPOSALS RUBBISHED

Article excerpt

Byline: SEAN SEDDON Reporter sean.seddon@trinitymirror.com @seddonnews

A CAMPAIGN group opposed to the expansion of Heathrow Airport has cast doubt on projections it could boost the North East economy.

The No Third Runway Coalition accused the Government of playing fast and loose with the future of regional airports with their focus on the South East.

One of the Government's arguments for expanding Heathrow, despite vocal opposition, has been that the financial benefits would be felt across the country.

But the anti-expansion group rubbished these claims, saying any benefit would be "negligible" and that focusing on Heathrow rather than supporting domestic routes could actually cause harm to airports such as Newcastle in the long-term.

Paul McGuinness, chair of No Third Runway Coalition, said: "If economic growth in the North East is to come through connec-tions with interna-tional markets, the Govern-ment should be working to get direct flights into airports such as Newcastle.

"Instead, they're using the largesse of taxpayers from across the UK, including the North East, to subsidise Heathrow's expansion, to the benefit of Heathrow's shareholders and the South East, yet again."

A report by the Airport Commission in July 2015 said Heathrow's expansion could create a PS147bn economic benefit over 60 years.

But in October 2016, that was downgraded to a maximum of PS61bn by the Department for Transport (DfT), leading the No 3rd Runway group to dismiss initial estimates that expansion could create more than 5,000 jobs in the North East by 2050.

The July 2015 report also found that, despite claims Heathrow's expansion would increase the number of domestic links, routes between the South East and the regions could actually vanish if support wasn't provided by to make them economically competitive.

Mr McGuinness said: "Rather than relying on the discredited figures that Heathrow continue to quote, politicians and business people from the North East will want to ask serious questions of Heathrow about how they can come anywhere close to delivering the jobs and investment, that The should be to get direct into airports as Paul they continue to promise, based on the now trusted, downwardly revised economic benefit figures. …

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