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CN Briefing: Heathrow; Gatwick; aviation; Birmingham; Midlands Engine

There’s always someone who has something bigger and better than what you have.

Be it a faster car, a larger house, a better-paid job: there’s always something you want that someone else has.

Following the government’s approval of a third runway at Heathrow, other regions around the country will surely be gearing up to push for their own airport expansions too.

It’s no surprise that Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said it “stands ready to proceed” with future expansion if and when approved, while Birmingham City Council is also pushing forward a case for a bigger airport.

The council has outlined a case to expand its airport to accommodate an extra 44 million passengers a year.

But it’s not just supersize transport projects the government has said it is focusing on.

In her speech at the Conservative Party conference, prime minister Theresa May said the country needed to be fired up “in all places”, with a nod towards the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine developments.

And with a start date for Heathrow construction not on the cards for a few more years yet (more on this tomorrow), and HS2 still a decade away, we need smaller – more deliverable – regional transport projects in place to keep the whole country moving.

These smaller infrastructure schemes should not be overlooked, with the Autumn Statement excpected to boost such schemes in a few weeks.

Better regional transport links encourage more people into an area, and with more people moving in, the opportunities for regeneration increase and the potential for a steady flow of construction work improves.

So while big projects should undoubtedly be shouted about, the benefits of smaller schemes should not be underestimated.

More on transport

Check out the full story of Birmingham’s airport expansion plans complete with video of council leader John Clancy making the case.

Planning experts warn of Heathrow construction delays, plus don’t miss our video guide to the history of third runway setbacks.


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