Second runway ‘right for business’

BUSINESS leaders in Suffolk have welcomed the re-igniting of the debate about a second runway for London Stansted airport.

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce was a vocal supporter of the airport’s plan to build a second runway which were scrapped in 2010 after a lack of political support. It argues airport growth is a ‘fundamental driver’ of the East of England economy.

London Mayor Boris Johnson re-fuelled the debate by arguing Stansted is the right place for airport growth in the UK, leading to calls for the Government to change its aviation policy.

“There is no doubt that London Stansted is a key economic driver of the regional economy.” said Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore. “It has a �240million a year turnover and is the biggest single site employer in our region. With over 350 of those staff based in Suffolk our members tell us on a regular basis the importance of business backing the airport and its plans for the future.”

The aiport, which employs around 12,000 people is the gateway to the East of the England and one in five of its passengers use it for business trips.

“There is a real danger of Britain falling behind its international rivals when it comes to generating links to emerging markets,” Mr Dugmore said.

“Stansted has plenty of spare capacity and can grow from its current 18 million passengers a year to 35 million on its existing runway. Airlines could relocate from Heathrow to Stansted tomorrow and save millions of pounds in the process.”

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Last month, members of Suffolk Chamber met with Stansted boss Nick Barton in Ipswich. He told them around the world, other airports are expanding and leaving the UK behind. “There is no doubt the debate around Stansted will continue as the Government moves towards a review of its policy,” Mr Dugmore said.