Airport is a better bet than rail plan

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Who in their right mind would support a concept like HS2?

We have to wait 20 years to see any benefit whatsoever, and in the meantime we must contend with colossal disruption across great swathes of the English landscape, including land occupied by some of the most productive and profitable companies in South Yorkshire.

Anyone who remembers the commercial chaos caused in Sheffield by the construction of Supertram – and the many businesses that never recovered from the trauma – will view with great trepidation the prospect of a project on this scale.

The projected journey time from London to Meadowhall on HS2 is 69 minutes. There already exists a faster way: the journey time from Sheffield City Airport by Dash 8 aircraft (as used by FlyBe on its regional routes) would be 50 minutes (even faster by BAe 146). Bringing Sheffield City Airport back into use will cause no disruption to industry and could be completed in a matter of months. On balance, the airport in Sheffield offers much greater benefit and flexibility to travellers. It will deliver a boost to the regional economy, improve regional connectivity and support inward investment at little or no cost to the taxpayer and without the need to wait 20 years for services to begin.

We hope that the people who welcomed the HS2 announcement will recover their senses and come back down to earth soon and get behind the campaign to establish a genuinely practical solution to the vexed question of South Yorkshire’s 21st century travel conundrum.

If you build a mile of road you can drive for a mile; if you build a mile of railway you can travel a mile on a train; but if you reopen a 1200 metre runway that already exists you can open the door to anywhere in the world.

I hope the city region doesn’t swallow the deceit that it has to wait 20 years to resolve at vast expense issues which can be resolved more effectively and at no cost today.

Sign the petition to reinstate Sheffield City Airport at: www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/sheffieldcityairport

Neville Martin