Cleared for take-off: Parliament unlocks local jobs and growth in vote to expand Heathrow
In a landmark vote today, Parliament unambiguously backed expanding Heathrow – ending decades of political debate and local uncertainty over one of the UK’s most pressing infrastructure issues. Following years of close engagement and consultation with local communities to help shape plans for expansion, MPs from across political parties joined forces to support the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement. The vote clears the way for Heathrow to submit a planning application for the project – unlocking billions of pounds in growth, exporting opportunities and tens of thousands of new skilled jobs for local communities.
Today’s decision secures a £14bn private investment for the UK – one of the largest private projects in Europe – that will have major benefits for the local economy, stimulating growth and inward investment opportunities. Local businesses, particularly smaller to medium sized enterprises, are also set to benefit from up to 40 new long-haul trading links and double the cargo capacity at an expanded Heathrow.
Over the next 12 months alone, the airport will sign £150 million worth of contracts with British businesses, creating 900 new jobs and 200 new local apprenticeships. In his position as Chair of the Heathrow Skills Taskforce, Lord Blunkett will coordinate members to develop the talent needed today and arm a generation with the skills it needs for the future.
In addition to the tens of thousands of new jobs the project will create locally, Heathrow has taken steps to ensure expansion does not force a choice between the economy and the local environment. Heathrow has made binding commitments to deliver a £2.6bn compensation package to residents, implement a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights and a triple lock guarantee to meet air quality obligations.
Parliament’s historic vote is the culmination of a rigorous, evidence-based analysis – including review by the independent Airports Commission and the Government. It has determined that expanding Heathrow offers the greatest benefit to all of the UK and can be done sustainably. Over the past six years, Heathrow has regularly consulted local communities to design an expansion plan that treats those that stand to be most impacted fairly. Heathrow will release detailed plans over the coming months to deliver a skills strategy so local residents can benefit from tens of thousands of new skilled jobs that an expanded Heathrow requires – an opportunity that has the potential to end youth unemployment in local boroughs.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead. This vote will see us deliver more jobs, create a lasting legacy of skills for future generations and guarantee expansion is delivered responsibility. We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best connected hub airport in the world.”
The newly established Heathrow Community Engagement Board will play an important role in building and maintaining trust between the airport and its communities making sure that Heathrow delivers its commitments today and in the future. In particular, it will ensure that communities are meaningfully engaged in the process over the coming months and years.