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Worcestershire hits out at Birmingham Airport second runway delays
COUNCIL chiefs in Worcestershire are pleading for a second runway at Birmingham Airport - revealing they are “dismayed” about suggestions it should be delayed.
The county council’s Tory group says millions pounds of new investment, jobs and growth in Worcestershire would be unlocked if the airport expanded.
It has hit out at the Airports Commission, which says the second runway should be put back until at least 2050, saying the stance is one the council “does not understand or concur with”.
The council has also raised the stakes in the long-running saga by saying town halls across the region agree with Worcestershire.
It is extremely rare for politicians in the county to get involved in issues outside the county - much less be so outspoken about it.
A vote is taking place at a full council meeting on Thursday, and if backed by a majority of politicians will see leader Councillor Adrian Hardman write to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
He will also write to the Airports Commission, which has taken the stance that Government investment needs to be centred on Heathrow rather than Birmingham.
Tory Councillor Marc Bayliss, an economist and one of four politicians to put his name to a Notice of Motion, said: “We had a discussion about it in the group because this airport is a key link to the whole of the Midlands.
“From a Worcestershire perspective it would open up the county to new markets and allow for much more extensive opportunities for international trade.
“They keep on arguing about airport capacity in London but we need to grow the rest of the UK, and this is a great chance to do that.
“The UK isn’t London, it’s much more than that. If we could get a second runway at Birmingham Airport, combined with the HS2 (high speed rail link) it would create great links.”
The motion says council is “dismayed” by the commission’s view, calling a second runway “vital” for improving Worcestershire’s economy.
It calls for the commission to “look again at the huge economic potential” for expanding the site, saying the benefits to Worcestershire would be huge.
Last month the commission recommended to the Government that airports at Gatwick and Heathrow get expanded instead.
Business leaders in the region have branded it “illogical”, including the Chamber of Commerce, but the commission insists the South East should remain the focus.
When the proposals were first unveiled last June, chief executive Paul Kehoe said it would make Birmingham Airport the same size as Heathrow now, taking up to 70 million passengers yearly.
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