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Durham Tees Valley Airport

Volume 577: debated on Thursday 20 March 2014

2. What assessment he has made of the adequacy of public transport links to Durham Tees Valley airport. (903164)

My assessment is that public transport links to Durham Tees Valley airport are very poor. However, we stated in the aviation policy framework that we will work with airports, transport operators, local authorities and local enterprise partnerships to improve surface access to the UK’s airports.

In the year to last March, the station at Durham Tees Valley airport had eight passengers—not per hour or per day, but in the whole year. Only one service a week stops there, cynically avoiding the costs of a real closure. This is a symbol of the long-term neglect of the area and its airport. Will the Minister require the airport operators to link their passenger terminal to proper public transport services, timed to serve their flights?

I know that this is what is known as a parliamentary service, which does save the cost of closure, but given that the passenger numbers were 900,000 in 2006 and 161,092 in 2013, action on more than just public transport links will be required to ensure the airport’s future.

The Minister will know that the Tees Valley metro was seen as a key component in establishing better links to the airport. That concept appears to have slipped somewhat. Will he meet me to discuss the viability of the Tees Valley metro so that we can pursue our economic ambitions right across the Tees valley?

I will be more than happy to do so, and ensure that Teesside has the same good transport links from which many other parts of the country benefit.