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Heathrow Expansion: Benefits for Wales

Volume 642: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2018

Heathrow airport is an asset for the whole of the United Kingdom and we will make sure that the benefits of expansion are shared as widely as possible.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the logistics hubs are absolutely vital to ensure that places such as Wales and Scotland benefit from Heathrow’s expansion plans?

My hon. Friend is right, and I know that he is keen to gain a logistical hub in Scotland, which demonstrates that Heathrow airport expansion is a project not just for London and the south-east, but for the whole of the UK. I was in Shotton just a couple of weeks ago, one of the potential sites for a logistical hub, so I suspect that we may be in competition.

Does the Secretary of State agree that the demand for the Heathrow rail spur link is of paramount importance now, and that the original date for implementation and opening of 2020 should be adhered to?

The hon. Lady raises an important point. Public transport is an important part of the expansion of Heathrow, including the western rail link. I am as keen as she is to see that progress as quickly as possible.

I welcome the moves that my hon. Friend is taking to ensure that Wales benefits from Heathrow expansion. I have a Heathrow hub in my constituency, just on the other side of the Severn. Aside from removing the tolls on the Severn bridge, which is an excellent thing to do, what else is he doing to try to strengthen economic links between the south-west of England and Wales?

My hon. Friend raises an extremely important point, because the removal of the Severn tolls creates a great opportunity to create and generate a new economic region. I held a Severn growth summit in Wales in January, and more people attended from the south-west of England than from Wales, which demonstrates the will to combine the capacity of the area to compete with the northern powerhouse, the midlands engine and London and the south-east.

Liverpool and Manchester airports serve north Wales. Will the Secretary of State ensure that those airports, which want further contacts with Heathrow, are not relegated to a position behind Heathrow on the issue of service access to airports?

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. He talks about Liverpool and Manchester. Part of the condition of the expansion of Heathrow airport and the construction of the third runway relates to the protection of 15% of slots for regional airports around the UK, and Liverpool and Manchester stand to benefit significantly from that.