Transport Minister Chris Grayling MP welcomed Cornwall’s ambitious transport plans during a visit to the Duchy on Friday (June 22).
The Secretary of State was given an update on how Cornwall’s devolution deal and the four-year programme of investment for transport in Cornwall is already having an impact.
He also visited Cornwall Airport Newquay, the fastest growing UK airport outside of London, to see first-hand the benefits Heathrow expansion could bring.
The Government has confirmed that it is prepared to intervene to reserve slots at Heathrow for flights to airports in nations and regions around the UK if expansion goes ahead. Public Service Obligations (PSOs) would be put in place to protect routes if required, which would also be exempt from Air Passenger Duty.
The news follows confirmation that the Government wants about 15% of the new capacity at an expanded Heathrow to be used for domestic flights. Cornwall could be one of the locations that benefits from the additional flights, which would offer passengers greater connectivity to domestic and overseas destinations.
He said: “Newquay is an example of one of our thriving regional aviation hubs which Heathrow expansion would support by boosting economic growth, increasing the number of flights for passengers and bolstering regional connectivity.
“Significant progress is also being made towards a fully integrated transport system here in Cornwall which will provide faster and more reliable journeys, enabling more passengers to travel than ever before.
“We have been absolutely clear that ongoing investment in the south west’s transport infrastructure is the key to unlocking the region’s economy, jobs and prosperity.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for transport, Geoff Brown, added: “As a Council, we are proud of the transport improvements that have been delivered in the last four years and there is more to come.
“We have big ambitions and a plan for transport in Cornwall, increasing connectivity for our residents, for businesses and the millions of visitors who visit each year. We are committed to working with our partners to improve Cornwall’s public transport network and provide regular reliable services to help people and businesses get around.
Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “Strong public transport is vital to a growing economy which is why to date we have invested more than £33 million in bus and train services from Cornwall’s Local Growth Fund allocation. The combination of increased capacity, new infrastructure and a fully integrated bus and rail system is creating a transport network fit for the 21st century. We are delighted to be able to show the Secretary of State how Cornwall is investing for growth.”