17. What steps he is taking to ensure that a decision is made as soon as possible on the new airport runway in south-east England. (905586)
The Government are fully committed to delivering the important infrastructure projects they have set out. The hon. Gentleman heard what the Secretary of State had to say about the decision on runway capacity in the south-east.
I thank the Minister for coming over and visiting us, and discussing with all of us the future of runways and connectivity, but I am incredibly disappointed by today’s decision. He knows that Dublin airport is due to have its new runway by 2023. We need a decision. May we have a promise that we will have a decision by Christmas 2016?
I think the Secretary of State was very clear. There are some other interesting developments, for example Stobart Air is looking at connections between Carlisle and Belfast, Carlisle and Dublin, and Carlisle and Southend, which will increase connectivity and improve the prospects for tourism so that people in the north of England can visit the wonderful Ulster that he represents.
The third runway for Heathrow would unlock some £16 billion of private investment at a time when the economy needs it most. The chief executive of George Best Belfast City airport has said that the
“Heathrow hub is vital in making Northern Ireland accessible to business and leisure passengers from all corners of the globe”.
It is really important for Belfast city; it is important for Northern Ireland. Make the decision now.
The Davies report made very clear the importance of connectivity in the south-east to the regions, the north of England, Ulster, Scotland and elsewhere. We are very mindful of the issues that have been raised by colleagues from around the country.