Dame Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden has expressed her disappointment after two of the candidates in the race for the West Midlands mayoralty announced their support for the construction of a second runway at Birmingham International Airport.
Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat mayoral candidates gave their backing to the construction of another runway; which would be situated parallel to Runway 33 - east of the Chester Road (A453) and just north of Meriden village. Should either candidate be successful in the race for the regional mayoralty, they would have responsibility for the regional transport network and would carry considerable influence in matters concerning the airports future operations.
Writing on his campaign website, the Labour Mayoral candidate expressed his ‘unequivocal’ support for further expansion at Birmingham Airport stating: “Let me be clear: if I am elected West Midlands Mayor, I won’t accept no for an answer on expanding our airport. And that means nothing short of a commitment to a second runway”.
However, the plans for a second runway would conflict with Solihull Councils longstanding proposal to construct a new garden city around the HS2 interchange station - designed to establish a direct link between Chelmsley Wood and the businesses and retail outlets at Birmingham Business Park, Birmingham International Airport, Resorts World and the NEC complex.
Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, who has a strong record of standing up for local residents, has challenged the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates to get a ‘better understanding’ on the impact on her constituents.
Expressing her concern over this issue, Dame Caroline, who has objected to a previous proposal for a second runway said:
“I was disappointed to learn that two prospective mayoral candidates would back the construction of a second runway at Birmingham Airport which would be built to the detriment of our local community”.
“It is well know that Solihull Council have a longstanding ambition to develop a new garden city adjacent to the HS2 interchange station. This will provide a direct link between the North East of Birmingham, Chelmsley Wood and Castle Bromwich and the NEC/Airport Complex.
“Indeed, it is striking that two candidates in the mayoral race (both of whom represent mainstream parties), have clearly overlooked this longstanding ambition, as well as the concerns of local residents, and would ignore the needs of our Borough in favour of a second runway which will harm communities.
“Make no mistake, Birmingham Airport is an excellent regional employer and a valuable asset which I want to see succeed. But before we look to build another runway we must acknowledge that there is competing demand for green space and housing for local people must be a priority for the local authority.
“I would encourage local residents to use this election as an opportunity to secure the future of our region and urge everyone to look closely at what each candidate offers before they go to the polls on May 4th”.