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Prosperity of Wales is closely linked to a third runway at Heathrow; Western Mail.

WALES will lose out on an historic opportunity to leave behind today's economic difficulties if politicians fail to demonstrate courage and do not build a third runway at Heathrow.

The pain inflicted on families in Wales by scandalously high unemployment and the lack of growth is a social cost we can no longer afford to pay. If radical action is not taken our economic isolation will get worse and another generation will suffer the agony of poverty.

The development of the High Speed 2 rail network will slash journey times between London and cities in the north of England and threatens to make it harder for the likes of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport to compete for inward investment. This is why we must make the most of Wales' proximity to Heathrow and we should fight for the importance of this airport to be enhanced and not diminished.

Here is a cause on which the Welsh Government and the Wales Office should speak with one voice.

This summer's approval of a pounds 500m rail link to Heathrow which may cut journey times by half an hour was rightly described by former First Minister Rhodri Morgan as "one of the most important announcements in the last 50 years".

The "spur" will link the Great Western line to the international airport and heighten South Wales' credentials as an ideal location for a headquarters within easy rich of both London and other world financial capitals.

It would be a catastrophe for Wales if runway-opponent Boris Johnson's campaign to build a brand new estuary airport to the east of London results in Heathrow losing its status as an epicentre for international air travel.

The London Mayor is standing up for his constituents who do not like the noise of planes flying above their wealthy city; Welsh leaders - not just in politics but in business as well - should fight for the interests of Wales with equal gusto.

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats rashly ruled out a third runway in their programme for government. This text was written when there were upbeat expectations the UK would zoom back to growth.

Instead, we are in the grip of a true economic crisis which is subjecting Welsh families to the terror and trauma of bankruptcy and repossession. If House of Lords reform and constituency boundary changes can be ditched, so can this ill-considered pledge.

We do not need to feel environmental guilt. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme will ensure a new runway will not add to carbon dioxide emissions.

This is an economic crisis and if Heathrow is denied a runway we will be on the pathway to decline.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 6, 2012
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