Aviation expansion is hugely important for Wales, and the whole of the UK, to boost jobs and promote our innovative industries on the world stage.
We recently published the draft Airports National Policy Statement, setting out the planning criteria that should be met before a proposed new runway at Heathrow Airport could gain consent.
For the people and businesses of Cardiff, the new runway could provide better links to more destinations around the world, a wider choice of airlines, and lower fares through increased competition at Heathrow.
The expansion will have a direct impact on the economy of Wales too. According to Heathrow, it currently handles £2.8 bn of Welsh exports each year. The new runway could double the airport’s freight capacity, linking Welsh businesses with fast growing global markets.
Access to London and Heathrow from Wales will be improved by the upgrade to the Great Western rail line. Cardiff Airport is seeing growing passenger numbers, reaching over 1.3 million in 2016.
We expect it to continue attracting new airlines and growing its network of destinations, and expansion at Heathrow could provide passengers with even more choice and opportunity.
With a new runway, Heathrow plans to double its freight capacity. It already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined, accounting for 31% of non-EU trade. The expansion would create even more opportunities for exporters in Wales and other nations.
For instance, I hear that Newport firm SPTS Technologies exports more than 95% of its products, all of which are shipped from Heathrow. The company says that Heathrow’s extra capacity for shipping freight could potentially open up new trading routes and lower costs, while new routes could help improve connections for international customers visiting its facilities.
The UK Government wants people and businesses in the area to put their views forward. Today we’ll be listening to Cardiff’s businesses, community groups, manufacturers, freight operators, passenger organisations, local authorities and any interested parties and encouraging them to respond to the consultation.
This Government is not only making the big decisions that previous Governments didn’t, but getting on with delivering them too. It’s all part of our Plan for Britain – to build a stronger, fairer UK with proper investment in skills and sectors, to spread prosperity and opportunity here in South Wales and around the country.
We believe the case for the new runway is compelling. Between 2009 and 2015, Heathrow slipped from being the world’s second busiest airport to the sixth busiest. Heathrow’s two runways are full. By comparison, its main competitors – Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam – have ample spare runway capacity into which to grow.
We have explained why we consider the proposed runway would best meet the pressing need for new airport capacity in the South East in the draft Airports National Policy Statement, which also sets out strict planning obligations Heathrow would have to meet to get approval for the new runway.
It is out for public consultation and will be scrutinised by MPs before a final National Policy Statement could be laid in Parliament next winter.
The draft Airports National Policy Statement is a big step forward for what would be one of Britain’s most important infrastructure projects. Now it is vital that Cardiff is engaged in the consultation process, so it can ensure its interests are represented.
So please join the debate and make your voice heard.”
A new partnership (Welsh Government and Heathrow) could see a flight from Wales to Heathrow Airport
Airport chairman says it could boost economy in Wales by £6.2bn
By Chris Pike (Wales online)
A new partnership between the Welsh Government and Heathrow Airport could help deliver 8,400 new skilled jobs and £6.2bn in economic growth for Wales.
An agreement is set to be signed today signalling the start of what aims to be a close working relationship between the two.
It will look at mutually beneficial commercial opportunities to support economic growth and the delivery of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
‘Broaden supply chain’
This partnership opens up new business opportunities in Wales as Heathrow, which invests more than £1bn a year at its site, wants to broaden its supply chain to support demand.
The partnership will mean airlines wanting to operate a route from Wales to Heathrow would be eligible to bid for the £10m route development fund.
The first ever Heathrow Business Summit Wales will take place on July 5 providing Welsh businesses with the opportunity of winning new business with the airport’s biggest suppliers.
It will also look at the possibility of locating off site manufacturing logistic hubs in Wales to support delivery for the third runway.
This new strategic partnership will be signed in Cardiff by First Minister Carwyn Jones and Heathrow’s chairman Lord Paul Deighton today.
Lord Deighton said: “I want to ensure that every corner of Britain benefits from Heathrow expansion. This strategic partnership will bring us closer to Wales and help us to deliver an expanded Heathrow.
We want to make it a success’
“A new Heathrow runway will unlock up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and underpin up to £6.4bn in growth from construction through to increased tourism and exports for Wales. [These figures are based on a study, done for Quod, that does some manipulation of out of date predictions, coming up with numbers of jobs and benefits. They are based on a figure of £147 billion of economic benefit. That is actually the benefit, without taking off the costs. The DfT in October 2016 said the £147 figure should be replaced by £61 billion. Even that is before costs are taken off. It is shameful that the Welsh government is being this badly misled by Heathrow, and given numbers that they are unclear how to interpret. AW note] This new partnership is a sign of our commitment to ensuring Heathrow expansion delivers tangible benefits for every corner of Britain and we are looking forward to working closely with the Welsh Government and Welsh businesses to make it a success.”
[See the article below, for how Scotland has also been taken for a ride by Heathrow – as have all the regions – based on really dodgy figures, from the Quod study.]
The First Minister said the partnership “opens the door” for Wales to explore new opportunities particularly for Wales’ existing supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support infrastructure projects at Heathrow.
He said: “I would certainly like to see a far higher percentage spend in Wales and the Welsh Government will do all it can to support companies in Wales to bid and win more business at Heathrow.
“I am also pleased to announce that plans are already underway to host the first Heathrow Business Summit in Wales, where our supply chain companies will have the chance to meet and discuss opportunities with Heathrow’s procurement team.
“It certainly marks a great start for this new relationship and there are very many other areas we are keen to explore with Heathrow Airport.”
The UK Government confirmed its backing of the expansion of the west London airport in October last year.
At the time, the First Minister welcomed the announcement but said he wanted to see Wales get a fair allocation of landing slots and a spur rail link to Heathrow from the mainline allowing direct rail travel from South Wales.
The planned spur would enable travellers to avoid going into and out of Paddington to get to Heathrow. Trains would deviate from the line towards London after Slough, between the stations Langley and Iver, and go into a tunnel that would take them to Terminal 5.
The rail journey between Reading and Heathrow would be reduced by around 35 minutes. The project has been out for public consultation and feedback is currently being reviewed before another round of consultation.
If given the go-ahead, work could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2024.
See earlier, to understand how Heathrow is producing these disingenuous figures:
SNP misled by Heathrow inflated claims of number of jobs for Scotland due to a 3rd runway
The SNP decided to give its backing to a Heathrow runway, rather than one at Gatwick – having been led to believe that the only choice on offer was between these two. They were led, by Heathrow PR, to believe there would be greater benefits for Scotland. The SNP hoped to get exports from Scotland (salmon and razor clams) shipped through Heathrow. The Airports Commission came up with a figure of economic benefit from a Heathrow runway of UP TO £147 billion to all the UK over 60 years. Heathrow got a consultancy called Quod to work out the number of jobs. They came up with the figure of 16,100 jobs for Scotland (over 60 years) from the runway. The DfT has now downgraded the £147 billion figure, as it included various speculative elements, and double counted benefits. The new figure (also still far higher than the reality) from the DfT is UP TO £61 billion for the UK over 60 years. That, pro rata, would mean up to about 9,300 jobs for Scotland – not 16,100. It is unfortunate that the SNP were misinformed, as were other MPs, Chambers of Commerce etc across the regions. Heathrow also pledged benefits for Scotland such as using its steel for construction, and using Prestwick as a base. The Scottish Green party see the SNP backing of a Heathrow runway as a betrayal of those badly affected by it, and of Scotland’s climate commitments.