As the House will know, Parliament has voted in principle to support a third runway at London Heathrow, but the Government have always been clear that that expansion remains a private sector project. To go ahead, it would be required to meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change, as well as being privately financed. It is for any scheme promoter to decide when it submits a development consent order application as part of the statutory planning process.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Regional airports such as Leeds Bradford have an important role to play in delivering the levelling-up agenda, with more point-to-point destinations. However, does the Minister agree that to deliver true global connectivity, we need more slots from regional airports into our national hub, which will ultimately mean more tarmac on the ground at Heathrow?
I agree with my right hon. Friend, who has enormous experience in this area, that regional airports are vital to the UK and support thousands of jobs across the regions, as well as acting as a gateway for international opportunities. It nevertheless is the case that as Heathrow considers its expansion plans, it will need to decide when to take those forward, and when it does so, I hope it will bear the very important issue of regional connectivity in mind.