The British government will be partnering with the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) to finance improved rail access to London Heathrow Airport.
The partnership will be investing around GBP500 million in the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) project, to connect locations as far away as South Wales and the South West, in addition improving access to the Thames Valley.
Steve Lamb, the chairman of the TVB LEP, said, ‘This is great news for a number of regions across the UK. A common piece of feedback we hear from local enterprises and organisations looking to move to the area is access to Heathrow is a significant business benefit as it opens the door to the rest of the world’s emerging markets. The WRAtH project will give confidence to our businesses in the Thames Valley which is the most productive sub-region outside of London and is worth nearly GBP30bn.’
The new project has been estimated to offer better and more direct transportation to Heathrow Airport for an additional 12 million people from across several regions.
Ruth Bagley, the chief executive of Slough Borough Council, said, ‘WRAtH will provide a huge boost to the UK economy, generating an additional GBP1.5 billion economic activity, with GBP800 million of that and 42,000 jobs generated in the Thames Valley alone. A modal shift from road to rail will remove over one million car journeys from some of the most congested roads around Heathrow, benefiting businesses and residents in the area, and reducing CO2 emissions at the same time.’