Nestrans state the case for strong London links

Stuart Smith 2010, News

Aberdeen transport links vital to the economic prosperity of the UK economy, says Nestrans

Nestrans has written to the Secretary of State for Transport highlighting the need for strong air and rail links to London and the south if the north-east is to safeguard its economic future and remain a key contributor to the wider UK economy.

Chairman of the regional transport partnership Councillor Kevin Stewart is calling on the Rt. Hon. Phillip Hammond to consider the implications for Aberdeen City and Shire following the government’s commitment to halt plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

“With an existing global economy and a will and desire to increase that economy, air travel from Aberdeen to various parts of the world is extremely important to us,” said Cllr Stewart.

“We are keen to embed this success into our area and develop from an oil and gas centre of excellence into an all energy global centre of excellence as well as building on our more indigenous food and drink industry export successes.

“We have the people, the knowledge, the existing business, the global outlook and the linkages with other parts of the world where energy industries exist. We are, though, far from the centre of the UK and the main world hub for UK travellers at Heathrow Airport.

“Given that the absolute need for excellent world communications from Aberdeen in order to secure a good future for the north-east, the Scottish and UK economies, it is vital that we find a way to secure the necessary landing slots to not only maintain but build on the range of destinations readily available to business already here and the new businesses we are trying to attract.”

The Nestrans Board will discuss the issue at its meeting on June 16.

Amongst the measures the Board will be considering to help provide the necessary access will be:

* The possibility of relaxing, to some extent, the planning restrictions on mixed use of Heathrow’s runways.

* The possibility of relaxing, to some extent, the planning restrictions on night time flying

* Extending High Speed Rail to Scotland as a phase 1 to significantly reduce the number of flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester to Heathrow.

Cllr Stewart added: “This issue of High Speed Rail is very significant in the context of no third runway. If we are left in the position of no extra runway capacity at Heathrow and High Speed Rail not reducing the number of flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Heathrow, the experience of the last fifteen years would suggest that the pressure on internal landing slots will intensify.

“This will have a severely negative impact on our ability to attract businesses to set up in our area to generate the critical mass of expertise to keep businesses here. These companies have, literally, the world to choose from when locating their premises and people.”