James Heappey MP welcomes third runway at Heathrow

Wells MP James Heappey has welcomed the approval of a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport. Approval was given in Parliament last Monday when the plans were approved by a huge majority of MPs

Mr Heappey has been a keen supporter of a third runway at Heathrow, aligning himself with business groups across the South West who have also been campaigning for additional capacity at the airport. Currently 1million people travel from the South West to fly from Heathrow showing just how important the airport is to the region. With plans for a new westward rail link now well advanced, the airport will soon be less than an hour from Bristol Parkway and under two hours from Highbridge, Castle Cary and Weston-Super-Mare.

Mr Heappey, who is also the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, said that the expansion at Heathrow was a real boost for the West Country economy adding:

“Heathrow was always going to be the best option for the South West with its proximity to the M4, M3 and the Great Western mainline an obvious selling point for us. Expansion at Gatwick, Stansted or a new airport east of London would have been much less convenient and would deliver much less value to the Somerset economy.”

Asked about the impact of Heathrow expansion on Bristol Airport, Mr Heappey said that the two were not mutually exclusive and that the region needed both additional long haul capacity at Heathrow as well as a growing network from Bristol. He has welcomed the recently released plans for expansion at the airport saying:

“Bristol Airport is fast growing, increasingly well connected, has lots of local businesses in its supply chain and employs hundreds of my constituents too – I want to see the airport grow to meet the needs of our growing economy. Whenever I can fly somewhere from Bristol, I do. But the reality is that the runway length the sheer economics of the aviation industry will mean that for most long-haul destinations we’ll need a growing Heathrow too.”

Heathrow Airport Ltd also visited Somerset recently to meet with local businesses at an event hosted by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce to explain the opportunities available in the airport’s supply chain. Sedgemoor District Council have proposed the former Royal Ordnance Factory at Puriton as a site for one of the Heathrow Logistics Hubs. The proposal has reached the longlist alongside 100 other sites across the country. A decision on which proposals will reach the shortlist is due later in the year.