Aberdeen City Council has called on the UK Government to expand Heathrow Airport to help safeguard the future of the north-east economy.
Councillor Jenny Laing is one of 34 council leaders from across the UK who have signed a letter to transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, urging the government to move ahead with proposals to upgrade the country’s busiest airport.
The plans, which have been on the table for a number of years, would include building a third runway and connecting the airport to the city’s rail network.
The letter states: “In uncertain economic times, it is undeniable that investment in Britain’s infrastructure is even more important to support growth across the country. Even during construction, infrastructure development creates skilled jobs and an economic boost for improvements to local economies.”
Last night, Mrs Laing said it was “critical” north-east businesses could continue to use London as a means of expanding foreign trade.
She said: “The time has now come for the UK government to stop the dither and delay and consent to the Heathrow expansion.
“The Heathrow expansion is vital for Aberdeen and Aberdeen’s global business economy, as business leaders require unfettered access to London and its markets.
“The Heathrow expansion also has the support of Aberdeen Airport and Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce because like Aberdeen City Council they understand it is critical that Aberdeen has access to connecting exporters in order to grow markets overseas.
“The first decision of the next prime minister must be to agree the expansion of Heathrow to allow the UK to retain its status as a global nation.”
Mrs Laing has said yesterday’s Flybe announcement does not change the authority’s position.
The transport secretary told parliament last month that a further announcement on the Heathrow scheme would now not be made until October.
During a House of Commons debate on airport capacity on June 30, Mr McLoughlin said: “The government is fully committed to delivering the important infrastructure projects that they have set out, including the delivery of runway capacity on the timetable set out by the Davies report.”