The more than 100,000 residents, businesses and community groups who form Back Heathrow welcome the exciting news that there will finally be a Parliamentary vote on Heathrow expansion later this month.
With a recent poll by Comres finding that 75% of MPs support Heathrow expansion, we should be optimistic, but not complacent, that the House of Commons will do the right thing and listen to local residents who have been banging the drum for a new runway for years.
Should the House of Commons vote in favour of Heathrow expansion then we will have political authority – as opposed to merely political backing – for Heathrow expansion and we can start to plan for the future.
As well as huge political and local support, Heathrow expansion is also backed by British businesses. Groups including the Confederation of British Industry, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses all wrote a recent letter to the Prime Minister calling on her to get on with building a new runway.
These groups represent thousands of British businesses who understand that new trade routes are vital if we are going to secure a strong economy in the future. It is vital that British businesses are able to take advantage of the many opportunities that will come from Heathrow expansion, otherwise we risk slipping further behind our rivals in Europe.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol has already overtaken Heathrow to become the number one airport in Europe for direct connectivity and Paris Charles De Gaulle and Frankfurt are snapping at London’s heels. Connectivity is vital for British businesses and, with Heathrow full, we are in danger of falling behind our continental competition.
Businesses want to see the jobs, apprenticeships, investment and opportunities that will come from Heathrow expansion; a desire they share with the trade union movement with unions such as Unite, GMB and Community also strongly backing a new runway at Heathrow.
British businesses, trade unions and local residents have been waiting for years and they can’t afford any more uncertainty on this issue. Now that the key vote in the House of Commons is within our sights, MPs from all parties need to do the right thing for Britain and vote to expand Heathrow.
Parmjit Dhanda is the executive director of Back Heathrow and a former government minister