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Hartlepool MP says Heathrow expansion could provide ‘much-needed links’ to North East

Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Hartlepool’s MP has come out in favour of the proposed third runway at Heathrow, saying it will open “much needed links” with Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Expansion of Heathrow moved a step closer when the Government easily won a vote on controversial plans for a third runway.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.

Support from Labour MPs helped push through the proposals to expand Europe’s busiest airport with an overwhelming majority of 296.

But a group of councils and campaigners against the plans are preparing to take the Government to court to block the move.

Labour is officially opposed to the move but allowed a free vote on the measure that is backed by unions like Unite.

The plans will create 114,000 extra jobs in the area around the airport by 2030, with an extra 16 million long-haul seats by 2040, according to officials.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said support for the new runway would set a “clear path to our future as a global nation in the post-Brexit world”.

He said: “This is a really important moment in the history of this House and the history of this country.”

Hartlepool Labour MP Mike Hill voted in favour of expansion plans in the House of Commons but added he had thought “long and hard” about the environmental impact it will bring.

“Government plans to build a third runway at Heathrow will undoubtedly make us as competitive as the likes of Schiphol over international flight capacity, but as a hub it will potentially open up much needed links with London to airports like Durham Tees Valley,” he said.

“In supporting the Government’s push to expand Heathrow I thought long and hard about the environmental factors and very clearly the fact that all those billions could be better spent in the north to improve rail links and our transport infrastructure.

“Having spoken directly to the staff at Durham Tees Valley, who have sacrificed so much over the past few years to keep the place going in terms of their job profiles, pay, terms and conditions and pensions, I ended up convinced by those who work for and have faith in the airport that it really does have a future as long as a direct and regular link to London is secured.

“I remain sceptical about that, but ambitious for the future of the airport as well.

“I really do hope that my vote is reciprocated with a firm commitment by the Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, that Durham Tees Valley will be given the investment it is crying out for and is guaranteed that link with the capital.”

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, which incorporates Billingham, Wynyard and Wolviston, voted for it as did Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson. Easington MP Grahame Morris was one of 94 Labour MPs to vote against the motion.