UK nations and regions urge "rapid decision" on new runway following Brexit

An influential group of over 100 business chiefs, MPs, council and trade union leaders from across the UK have joined forces to pen a series of joint letters to the new transport secretary Chris Grayling urging the government to deliver a rapid decision to build a new runway in London and the south east. 

A series of four letters have now been sent from Scotland, the North East, the North West and Cornwall, coordinated by the airport expansion campaign group Let Britain Fly.

Gavin Hayes, director of Let Britain Fly said: “The decision to build a new runway is not just about London and the South East, this is a decision of national importance that affects the economic well-being of the entire country. That is why business, political and trade union leaders from John O’Groats to Lands’ End are urging the government to get on and make a rapid decision. It has now been over a year since the Airports Commission published its final report, so this is a decision that has quite frankly dragged on for far too long to the detriment of the UK economy.”

Each letter raises a number of important and urgent issues, including: -

  • Expresses concern regarding the latest delay in making a final decision on airport expansion. 
  • Says that the EU referendum result creates a new urgency for another runway, with the need to quickly secure new connections and trading partnerships with growth economies such as Brazil and China. 
  • The decision to build a new runway is not just about London and the South East, it is a decision that affects the economic prosperity of the nations and regions of the UK. 
  • Urges the government to make rapid progress and that a decision on airport expansion should be one of the top priorities of the new Prime Minister. 

Signatories to the four letters include the following: 


Sir Ian Wood, Chairman, Wood Group

Willie Macleod, Executive Director, BHA Scotland 

James N. Walker CBE, Managing Director, Walkers Shortbread 

Willie Stewart, Director, Stewart Travel 

Jim Fairbairn OBE, Executive Director, Howden Group 

Jeremy Chittleburgh, Chiene & Tait LLP 

Tristan Nesbitt, General Manager, Sheraton Grand Hotel Edinburgh 

Alan Thornburrow, Chief Executive, Scottish Investment Operations

Amanda Macmillian, Managing Director, Glasgow Airport

Ryan James, Chairman, Glasgow Restaurant Association 

Virginia Kavanagh, Regional Manager, Chase de Vere

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP

Ian Murray MP 

Alan Brown MP 

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce

Cairngorms Chamber of Commerce

Caithness Chamber of Commerce

Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce

Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce

Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Fife Chamber of Commerce

Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Greenock Chamber of Commerce

Inverness Chamber of Commerce

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce

Midlothian & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce

Moray Chamber of Commerce

Perthshire Chamber of Commerce

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce

Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce

West Lothian Chamber of Commerce

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

North East 

Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader, Newcastle City Council 

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader, Durham City Council 

Cllr Michael Mordey, Sunderland Council 

Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader, South Tyneside Council

Cllr Mary Foy, Cabinet Member Economy, Gateshead Council 

Cllr Grant Davey, Leader, Northumberland County Council 

Norma Redfern, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside 

Cllr Bruce Pickard, Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside

Mary Glindon MP 

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP 

Ronnie Campbell MP 

Grahame Morris MP

Catherine McKinnell MP

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Tom Blenkinsop MP

Ian Mearns MP 

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce

Ted Salmon, North East Regional Chair, Federation of Small Businesses 

Beth Farhat, Regional Secretary, Northern TUC 

Lee Charnley, Managing Director, Newcastle United Football Club 

Nick Jones, Interim Chief Executive, Newcastle International Airport 

Nick Holmes, Director, NHC Management 

Neil Barker, Director, emBarkArchitecture 

Gillian Hall, Senior Partner, Watson Burton LLP

Stan Higgins, Chief Executive Officer, North East Process Industry Cluster

Rachel Turnbull, Chief Executive Officer, TT2 

Jeremy Middleton, Director, Middleton Enterprises 

David Cliff, Managing Director, Gedanken

Jonathan Blair, Managing Partner, Bond Dickinson LLP

Mark Thompson, Managing Partner, Ryder Architecture

Andrew Hodgson OBE, Chief Executive Officer, SMD

Christine Holland, Managing Director, Holland PR & Marketing

North West / Merseyside 

Louise Ellman MP 

George Howarth MP 

Derek Twigg MP 

Conor McGinn MP 

Stephen Twigg MP 

Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce 

Kath Boullen, CEO, St Helens Chamber of Commerce 

Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region LEP 

Jo Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

Pete Radcliffe, Branch Chair, IoD Liverpool

John Syvret CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders

Max Steinberg CBE, Chief Executive, Liverpool Vision

Bob Prattey, Chief Executive, ACC Liverpool 

Gerald Andrews, Finance Director, ACC Liverpool 

Andrew Cornish, CEO, Liverpool John Lennon Airport 

Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader, Halton Council 

Elain Bowker, Principle and Group CEO, The City of Liverpool College 

Enda Rylands, Chairperson, Southport BID and Chairperson, Southport Business Tourism Steering Group

David Brewitt, Managing Director, Carpenter Investments

Peter Nears, Strategic Planning Director, Peel Group 

Brian Kenny, Regional Director, Rathbones 

Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Climate Change, Liverpool City Council 

Lorna Tyson MBE, Owner and Manager of Mere Brook House

Steve Pearse, Chairman, Friends of Liverpool Airport

Chris Bliss, Estate Director, Liverpool One 

John Sutcliffe, Managing Director, Sutcliffe 

Mick Whitley, Regional Secretary, Unite the Union 

Cllr Barrie Grunewald, Leader, St Helens Council 

Cllr Wendy Simon, Assistant Mayor & Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism & Events, Liverpool City Council


Steve Double MP

Scott Mann MP

Derek Thomas MP

Thelma Sorensen OBE, Chairman, Cornwall Business Partnership

Al Titterington, Managing Director, Cornwall Airport Newquay

James Staughton, Chief Executive, St Austell Brewery

Gordon Seabright, Managing Director, Eden Project

Kim Conchie, Chief Executive, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive, Visit Cornwall

Ben Rhodes, Chief Executive, Devon & Cornwall Business Council

Marcus Rampley, Managing Director, Fugro GeoServices

Sarah Trethowan, Operations Director, Trac Services

Will Ashworth, Managing Director, The Watergate Bay Hotel

Toby Parkins, Founding Director, Head Forwards

Mike Carr, Joint Managing Director, Pendennis Shipyard Ltd

Dr Tony Batchelor, Chairman Geoscience Ltd and Chairman of the Camborne School of Mines Trust

Gareth Wright, Managing Director, Kings College London Service Centre 

Andrew May, Chairman, Isles of Scilly Steamship Company

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