Heathrow sometimes seems very distant from us in the north east, but it is central to our growth and prosperity. Expanding the airport is a dire necessity for us to connect to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world.
Heathrow is operating at nearly 100 per cent capacity, which means the slightest glitch can cause chaos. It needs expansion to overcome this and be reliable for exporters and tourists. This is why the North East Chamber of Commerce backs it. A new runway would also create 180,000 jobs, and more outside London and the south east than within it.
An independent committee of experts recently delivered their verdict on this to Prime Minister David Cameron and agreed that Heathrow should be given the go ahead. The PM has decided to take his sweet time over it. The trouble is that the Conservatives are divided because big beasts in the Tory jungle, such as Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith, oppose Heathrow.
But the national interest, and that of the north east, demands a decision in favour. Cameron needs to make a decision, whatever some of his colleagues think. Our exporters and regional economy cannot afford to see him flunk the decision.
The Northern Powerhouse will mean nothing without Heathrow. The north east will be able to compete and grow if Cameron gets off the fence, and quick.