Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have written to the new transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin urging him to be bold over decisions surrounding HS2 and regional airports in the wake of the cabinet reshuffle.
Mr McLoughlin has succeeded Justine Greening in the transport hotseat and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group chief executive Jerry Blackett said he held a crucial role for the region.
The letter states: “I would like to applaud the good work that your predecessors, Ms Greening, Mr Hammond and Lord Adonis, have done on HS2 and I look forward to working with you on this important national infrastructure project.
“HS2 will deliver very real economic benefits to the West Midlands and will free up significant capacity on our creaking West Coast Mainline.
“The WCML is currently the Country’s least reliable mainline railway despite billions of pounds of investment and upgrades and is the best example of why we are opposed to a patch and mend approach to railway capacity.”Mr Blackett has said that the Government’s transport policy must deliver for the whole of the UK by spreading the benefits of transport and connectivity beyond the South East.
He said there is significant capacity at regional airports and it is wrong that so many passengers outside of London and the South East are required to travel many hours to Heathrow to access direct flights to emerging and established markets.
He added: “Heathrow and Gatwick currently provide 99 per cent of the UK’s direct flights to BRIC countries. This situation has arisen because it suits airlines rather than passengers.
“We feel that there is a great opportunity to ensure that the North and the Midlands have access to the direct flights that they need to prosper and we would look forward to working with you to ensure that the whole of the UK has first class aviation connectivity.”