Press release

Welsh Secretary: Heathrow Aiport expansion is the right move for Wales

UK Government agrees final proposal for Heathrow expansion

Heathrow control tower
Alun Cairns in the air traffic control tower at Heathrow Airport

Today (Tuesday, 5 June) UK Government Ministers have set out final proposals to back Heathrow expansion– moving Britain a significant step closer to more flights, more jobs and greater economic growth.

Marking an important milestone in building a global Britain, the UK Government has published the proposed Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), backing Heathrow expansion through developing a new Northwest Runway.

A new runway at Heathrow would bring real benefits to people across Wales. It would mean that there is more room for flights from airports across the UK to Heathrow and connections with its long-haul destinations.

It would mean a greater choice of airlines at Heathrow and international destinations for people going on holiday, visiting friends or family or travelling for business. The increased competition at the airport is also expected to drive down fares for passengers.

Western Rail Link is planned to allow a faster rail route for passengers travelling to Heathrow from south Wales without having to go into London.

Across the country, expansion would provide benefits of up to £74 billion to passengers and the wider economy and create tens of thousands of local jobs. It will better connect the UK to the rest of world with an extra 16 million long haul seats available by 2040.

Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest airport for passengers and freight and the Northwest Runway will almost double the airport’s capacity for goods, allowing businesses across the country to increase their exports and take advantage of new global customers.

The UK Government and Welsh Government are working closely together to ensure Wales plays a key part in the airport’s supply chain. Last month, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns addressed representatives from Heathrow Airport in north Wales as part of a campaign to bring one of four Heathrow logistics hubs to Wales. He will also meet SMEs from Wales at the next Heathrow Business Summit in Cardiff in July where they can learn of the opportunities available to them at the UK’s busiest travel hub.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:

The UK Government’s proposals to back Heathrow expansion send a clear message about our ambitions for Britain’s future.

They are plans that have had my full backing from the outset. From logistics hubs to supply chain opportunities, Wales has a once in a generation opportunity to play a part in the delivery one of the most exciting infrastructure endeavours seen in Britain for generations.

By expanding Heathrow, we can plug every region of Britain into the global economy - showing that we are open for business, confident about who we are as a country, and ready to trade with the rest of the world.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

Expansion at Heathrow presents a unique opportunity to deliver a multi-billion pound boost to our economy, strengthen our global links and maintain our position as a world leader in aviation.

As we leave the EU, the UK must remain one of the world’s best-connected and outward-looking countries and a third runway at Heathrow is the best option to deliver this.

We have listened to views through our consultations and will ensure a world-class package of measures to help any local communities affected by the expansion.

The NPS takes into account public and industry feedback and recommendations made by the Transport Committee to ensure that airport expansion in the South East will be delivered in a way that is cost-efficient, sustainable and in passengers’ best interests.

Heathrow will be privately financed and costs will not fall on the taxpayer. To make sure expansion is delivered with consumers’ interests at heart, the Government has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the scheme remains affordable while meeting the needs of passengers.

To protect the environment, planning consent would only be granted on the basis that the new runway is delivered within existing air quality obligations.

Over the next few weeks Parliament will have the opportunity to debate and vote on the NPS.

Published 6 June 2018