Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 8:24 pm on 25th June 2018
John Grogan Labour, Keighley
Notwithstanding his vision for Birmingham, does my hon. Friend recognise that, according to official Government figures, there will be 40,000 fewer international point-to-point flights from Birmingham in 2040 if Heathrow expansion goes ahead?
Kelvin Hopkins Labour, Luton North
I thank my hon. Friend for making that powerful point.
There is massive extra capacity at Birmingham, and that seems likely to expand in the future. There is a railway station actually in the airport, linked via Leamington Spa to the main Great Western line. It is not a remote parkway station, but can provide direct rail travel right into the airport, much as happens at Gatwick. With 125-mph electrified trains, non-stop on the main route, journeys would take less than an hour from central London, and would be convenient and easy with no train changes required.
I have consulted, and have been advised by, experienced railway engineers who, like me, are convinced that this scheme would be perfectly practicable and inexpensive to build. I have also discussed the scheme with Paul Kehoe, who was recently chief executive of Birmingham airport, and is an old friend who was formerly airport director at Luton. He, too, considers the scheme to be eminently feasible and perfectly practicable. Many Members rightly believe that we should seek to develop our regional economy economies, with more emphasis on regional airports. I believe that developing Birmingham airport will meet that challenge too, while also making a potentially massive contribution to south-east aviation needs.
I urge Ministers to give serious consideration to what I propose, and to think again about Heathrow expansion.