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MP ‘disappointed’ at lost opportunity over airport

Solihull MP Lorely Burt has spoken of her disappointment after a Government-backed inquiry booted out plans to expand Birmingham Airport.

Lorely Burt
Lorely Burt

Solihull MP Lorely Burt has spoken of her disappointment after a Government-backed inquiry booted out plans to expand Birmingham Airport.

Instead, the Airports Commission report, led by Sir Howard Davies, paved the way for Heathrow and Gatwick to increase in size.

Mrs Burt told the Solihull News: “The South East is becoming a self fulfilling prophesy.

“This would have been a great opportunity to boost the economy for the West Midlands and Birmingham. I am very excited about what is to come for Birmingham Airport in the future, but it is disappointing, I feel there are opportunities now.

“In the South East, it becomes a cycle – there is growth, which enables infrastructure, which enables more growth.

“There is also growth here in Birmingham and there will, hopefully, be opportunities at the next review.

“There is the possibility to build away from human habitation and it will be a major boost to our already growing economy.”

Bosses at Birmingham Airport have put a brave face on the rejection, pointing out the commission said a future inquiry might look again at the case for expansion.

Chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “Birmingham Airport has been recognised as an integral piece of the long-term aviation puzzle, supporting the growth of aviation links across the UK, which is a positive step forward for the Midlands economy.”

Birmingham business leaders reacted angrily to the news, however. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Jerry Blackett said: “We regret the report does not examine the critically important role of aviation in supporting the rebalancing of the UK away from the existing and unsustainable reliance on London and the south-east.

“Cities like Birmingham are poised to grow dramatically and we need direct flights to growth economies. In focusing on aviation supply in London and the south-east, the report looks like a sticking plaster job for the UK economy as a whole.”

The airport had drawn up plans for a new runway in Meriden and Coleshill, east of the M42 and south of the M6.

But the commission said it was unlikely to be needed because Birmingham would not be operating at capacity until the mid-2040s.

The Commission, instead, backed expansion of airports in the south east and shortlisted three options: new runways at Gatwick or Heathrow or extending an existing runway at Heathrow.

 

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