As you will be aware, my SNP colleagues and I at Westminster have continuously pressed the UK Government to make a decision on a new third runway in the South East of England.
The SNP welcomed the publication of the Airport Commission’s report and we believe that the operators of both Heathrow and Gatwick put forward well-thought through proposals for additional capacity at their airports. My colleagues – both at Holyrood and Westminster – have been clear that we want to see an outcome which fully recognises the two-way benefits of better and more sustainable connectivity between Scotland, London, and the rest of the world.
Airport expansion in London and the South-East is not intended to solely service those regions as it will have consequences for tourism and investment for cities and regions across the UK. Expansion will not only help our economy and businesses connect to global markets, but will also ensure that the significant numbers of inbound business passengers and tourists travelling through London airports to Scotland continue to have that option.
My colleagues and I know that this decision on airport capacity is vital – especially given the UK’s decision to leave the EU – and continuous delays by the UK Government will just equate to further risk that business will go elsewhere while the problems of under-capacity will continue to grow. The Scottish Chamber of Commerce have called these delays ‘economic illiteracy,’ and given the current economic climate, strong leadership is required and therefore SNP MPs and MSPs, as well as the Scottish Government, will continue to pressure the UK Government to end the indecision.
The SNP will examine all options that are on the table, but any proposals for a third runway must put measures in place that ensure benefits accrue for Scottish businesses and commuters and we will make our decision on which proposal to support on the basis of guaranteeing an optimum outcome for Scotland.