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Sky-high hopes for benefits to the north as plans for third runway at Heathrow move forward

Winter sun at Heathrow Airport
Winter sun at Heathrow Airport

Airports across the north and north-east have backed an expansion at Heathrow, after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on building a third runway at the London airport.

Heathrow Airport Ltd successfully overturned an earlier ruling that the government had failed to take account of its own climate commitments when it approved the scheme.

The west London airport said the latest decision will “allow global Britain to become a reality”.

Environmental groups and other opponents of the expansion project described the outcome as “incredibly disappointing” but insisted there “remains real doubt” about whether the third runway will ever happen.

Inglis Lyon, the managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial), believes it will benefit the north economy.

He said: “Hial is on record as supporting a third runway at Heathrow as we believe it will deliver greater accessibility to London and ultimately improve connectivity with the Highlands and islands.

“Hial aims to be at the forefront as we move towards more sustainable transport and carbon neutral travel options.

“We will work with all those involved in aviation, including government, operators and airlines as we drive towards a solution that balances economic prosperity with environmental stability.”

And a spokesman for Aberdeen International Airport added: “Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport and plays a key role in supporting regional connectivity by providing access to established and emerging markets.

“As an industry, we’re very clear on the need to balance the clear economic and social benefits aviation undoubtedly delivers alongside our climate change responsibilities.

“It’s for this reason the industry, including Heathrow, came together to set out how we will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 whilst delivering the routes that will allow us to compete on a global stage when it comes to trade, tourism and investment.”

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Tory MP Andrew Bowie said: “The pandemic has had a hugely detrimental impact on air travel, at the cost of thousands of jobs across the UK.

“It is clear that Aberdeen and the north-east economy stands to benefit hugely from the expansion of Heathrow when the recovery comes.

“Our businesses already operate on a global scale, and this engine room of the Scottish economy needs better access to London and the rest of the world.

“It’s vital that regional landing slots are protected and developed to that end.

“This week the UK Government published an energy white paper which underlined how Britain will get to carbon net-zero, and how a successful economy doesn’t need to have an environmental cost.”

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