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Third Heathrow runway could bring huge economic benefits to Fife

The third runway project will be one of Britain's largest infrastructure projects.
The third runway project will be one of Britain's largest infrastructure projects.

Despite the uncertainty in the aviation sector, Heathrow is determined to press ahead with plans for a third runway and Fife could benefit.

The Supreme Court has heard arguments from Friends of the Earth and Heathrow about whether the expansion plans can go ahead.

The case ended last week, but the judgment is not expected until towards the end of this year or early next year.

If the third runway gets the green light, it is still Heathrow’s intention to have regional construction centres, including one in Scotland.

Two locations in Rosyth are on the shortlist of four Scottish sites being considered – Babcock and the Port of Rosyth, operated by Forth Ports.

Heathrow chief operating officer Emma Gilthorpe said a decision on the locations of the hub would likely be made in 2023 or 2024, with work beginning there in the middle of the decade.

Scotland is the only part of the UK which is guaranteed a logistics hub as part of an understanding between the airport and the Scottish Government.

Ms Gilthorpe, who will appear at the Courier Business Conference in association with MHA Henderson Loggie next month, said: “Fundamentally the benefits of air travel aren’t going to change.

Emma Gilthorpe, chief operating officer at Heathrow Airport.

“Expansion is needed by the UK and we will continue to stymie the economy if we do not invest in the nation’s hub airport both from a passenger and cargo perspective.

“The premise for the expansion remains. We want to open up opportunities, like short haul flights, that we’ve not had the space to exploit.

“I’m a lawyer by training, so you never say you’re confident but we feel we’ve got a good case with a democratic mandate for expansion with cross-party support.

“I think if we lose on a narrow point of law it will be supremely frustrating and it will fly in the face of years of gathering national support for this in all corners of the UK.”

Ms Gilthorpe said a decision on the locations of the hub would likely be made in 2023 or 2024, with work beginning there in the middle of the decade.

People can register for the Courier Business Conference here.

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