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Manchester airport backs traffic plan

[August 11th 2008]

Manchester airport and British Airways are among companies in the aviation sector backing United City's support for a new transport plan for Manchester.

Manchester airport, plus BA, VLM Airlines, Alpha Airports Group and SSP UK Air, which are all based at the airport, are organisations in the aviation sector which have thrown their weight behind United City.

United City is an alliance of businesses in Greater Manchester supporting the government’s £3 billion Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) investment in the city’s transport network. Other businesses backing the plan include high street chain Timpson, Manchester Arndale and Piccadilly Partnership.

After the initial investment by businesses, congestion charging would be used to pay for the transport improvements in Manchester.

“United City wants to win our bid for a world-class public transport network for a world-class city region. We agree with the public authorities that doing nothing is not an option,” explains one of United City’s founding members, Ask Developments Chief Executive Ken Knott.

“We believe that a huge transformational investment in public transport is the only approach, followed by a charge targeting congestion when and where it occurs. If Greater Manchester’s recent economic success is to continue, the key to future success is the rapid and efficient movement of people and goods, with major spin-off effects of increased sustainable travel and its resulting positive effects on health and the environment,” continues Knott.

Under the new transport plan the Metrolink light rail network would be extended to Manchester airport. Manchester airport MD, Andrew Cornish, is quoted in the Manchester Evening News as saying: "Improving the way that our passengers and staff access the airport is a key objective of our Master Plan to 2030, and a successful TIF bid would enable us to reach our targets within the next five years."

“Congestion charging is a controversial solution, but where it pays for investment in public transport extensive research shows that there are substantial benefits for the local economy as well as both private individuals from every social class and companies, businesses and large organisations,” comments lecturer in urban history at the University of Manchester, Dr Leif Jerram.

Written by: Nick Purdom