THE leader of Hampshire County Council has welcomed news that a third runway at Heathrow Airport has received MPs’ backing. Councillor Roy Perry says the expansion will bring “significant” benefits to the region and boost its economy. This comes after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced that members of cabinet’s economic sub-committee had given the plans the green light. The county council was one of the only local authorities in the country to support the scheme. Cllr Perry said: “Hampshire County Council has already passed a resolution in support of the third runway at Heathrow, and so I was pleased to hear that the Transport Secretary made a statement to setting out the next steps to deliver new runway capacity in the South East. “This major airport brings significant benefits to the Hampshire economy, providing employment for thousands of Hampshire’s residents, business markets for the local supply chain and international access to the multi national companies based here. “As a major international transport link, Heathrow is also critical to the UK economy and brings major benefits to London and the South East. It’s very important for Britain’s connectivity – and as Hampshire is so close to Heathrow it will definitely benefit us too.” MPs will be given a vote on the scheme by early July. Mr Grayling told the Commons: “I am laying before Parliament our final proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) which signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow Airport. “My department has met with local residents and fully understands their strength of feeling, but this is a decision taken in the national interest and based on detailed evidence.” Mr Grayling told MPs: “The time for action is now. Heathrow is already full and the evidence shows the remaining London airports won’t be far behind. Despite being the busiest two-runway airport in the world, Heathrow’s capacity constraints means that it is falling behind its global competitors, impacting the UK’s economy and global trading opportunities. “Expansion at Heathrow will bring real benefits across the country including a boost of up to £74 billion to passengers and the wider economy. This is a project with benefits which reach far beyond London.” Mr Grayling acknowledged the concerns of people living around the airport, but said there was a £2.6 billion package for local communities towards the costs of compensation, noise insulation and improvements to public amenities. He said the scheme – including £700 million for noise insulation for homes and £40 million to insulate schools and community buildings – was comparable “with some of the most generous in the world”. He said that he also expected to see for the first time a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights, and would be encouraging Heathrow and airlines to work with local communities to propose longer periods of respite during a further consultation on night flight restrictions. “I hope the House will be ready to work together – acting on an issue that is in our shared national interest – in order to create a positive legacy for the future. I hope members will get behind it,” he said.