Thank you to those constituents who have contacted me putting the arguments both for and against expansion.

On balance and after a lot of consideration, I am in favour of the principle of constructing a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Compared to the alternatives, I believe this is in the best interests of my constituents in Torfaen and Wales more generally.

I share the Welsh Government’s view on the major benefits for Wales and other parts of the UK and I am pleased the Welsh Government is already working with Heathrow on delivering benefits to Wales from the third runway. I think reserved spaces for regional flights is very important, as is the siting of the four logistics hubs to widen the supply chain which will create thousands of skilled jobs. Wales is an ideal location for one of these hubs.  I’m pleased to see the Welsh Government promoting Newport as one of the possible sites in Wales alongside Shotton, Cardiff, Deeside, Ebbw Vale and Bridgend.  I also believe the new runway will bring great benefits beyond the construction phase for Wales in terms of increased tourism and exports.  I will keep pressing the UK Government on its plans regarding the building of a “railway spur” off the Great Western mainline to Paddington to give direct western rail access into Heathrow from South Wales.

Expanding UK aviation capacity at the “hub” airport of Heathrow is important in my view – both for our round-the-world links (important for trade around the world irrespective of the result of the Brexit referendum), and to continue to make cheap passenger flights readily available so that more and more people can travel than ever before.

I think the apparent alternatives do not work as well for South Wales.  The idea of a “Severnside” airport was rejected by the Airports Commission some years ago. The Gatwick option is further away from South Wales than Heathrow and less accessible. The idea of an island on the Thames promoted by Boris Johnson has not been developed and is not a realistic option.

I respect the views of those with worries about the environmental impacts of expansion. I share many of their concerns about climate change, air quality and noise issues, and in that regard I welcome the strict conditions on emissions and environmental protections and will continue to pursue this as an issue.  Stringent targets are important in continuing to meet our binding obligations on this.

Any constituents with further questions are welcome to contact me.

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