Belfast Telegraph

Heathrow vote welcomed by Northern Ireland businesses

By Margaret Canning

A vote by MPs in Westminster to give the go-ahead to a third runway at Heathrow will boost air connectivity for Northern Ireland, it's been claimed.

The Government has now triggered the next step towards Heathrow expansion in the wake of its victory in a Commons vote on the controversial plans.

The airport has said that the expansion could become the trigger for 5,000 new jobs and £5bn of economic growth in the province if one of six sites is chosen to host logistics hubs to aid in construction of a third runway.

Christopher Morrow, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry head of policy, said: "This positive outcome is an example of the bold decisions that are needed to demonstrate that the UK is open for business at a time of change and uncertainty.

"The green light for Heathrow's expansion shows international investors, trading partners and competitors that the United Kingdom is serious about being at the heart of the global economy.

"A vote to proceed with expansion is also a signal to businesses that Westminster is serious about supporting UK growth in every region of the country.

"For Northern Ireland specifically, this presents an opportunity to boost the connectivity of the region with other areas in the UK and beyond, especially as Heathrow is a key facilitator for trade - a point which will become increasingly important post-Brexit."

Six sites in Northern Ireland are in the running to become logistics hubs for Heathrow Airport during the building of a third runway.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has three sites in the running for a logistics hub.

UUP Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Lindsay Millar said: "Being part of the Heathrow expansion would be a big boost for the manufacturing and construction sectors here, and for the wider economy.

"We have the capability and the capacity to play a big part in this project."

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has now formally designated the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), paving the way for the airport to submit a formal planning application.

This means a group of councils and campaigners have six weeks to submit a legal challenge to block the project.

A judicial review against the decision is being launched by four London local authorities affected by the expansion - in partnership with Greenpeace and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Belfast Telegraph

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