Even a three year-old child would recognise the need for a link between HS2 at Leeds railway station and Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), an MP has said.
Tory Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) said it would be a “hair-brain scheme” if passengers arriving in Leeds on the new £40 billion proposed high-speed rail link were not able to then get a connecting train to the airport.
Setting out his support for a new rail link to LBA, currently only accessible via road, Mr Andrew said the region is quickly becoming an international tourist destination - as shown by the success of this summer’s Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire.
Mr Andrew said that the international airport, currently visited by 3.3 million passengers a year, could expand to nine million a year but needs a rail link to aid growth and boost the local economy.
Leading a Westminster Hall debate on connectivity to the airport, he said: “We must not forget that we have one of the largest infrastructure projects this country has seen in centuries coming to Leeds within the next 20 years.
“I am of course talking about HS2.
“What a missed opportunity it would be if people were to get off this brand new, shiny high-speed rail link and head into Leeds station, one of the busiest in the country, and discover that you cannot get to the region’s largest airport by train.
“Even a three year-old child would not come up with such a hair-brain scheme.”
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said a Government feasibility study on improving ground-level transport links was due to report soon.
He did not prejudge the report’s findings but said any decision by the Government would be subject to further consultation, pointing out that the building of any new road or rail links could meet local discomfort.
Mr Goodwill said: “Whatever action the Government decides to take on the study’s recommendation individual scheme proposals such as a new road or rail link would need to be subject to further evaluation and require statutory consent before they could proceed.
“This would provide the opportunity for further consultation and public comments should people have concerns they wish to bring forward.”