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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20130111004 |
|Title:||Regeneration Policy In Crisis|
|Author:||Federation of Small Businesses |
|ID & Publication:||20130111004 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
|Subject:||Business News |
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has expressed concern at the levels of air freight traffic being handled by the region’s Robin Hood Airport.
Figures published by the Civil Aviation Authority show that in 2011 only 102 tonnes of air freight was handled through the airport – less than that handled by airports at Benbecula in the Scottish Highlands or the Scilly Isles. Alarmingly, the 2011 freight volumes were 53% down on the previous year, and had reduced year-on-year since a peak in 2007. The 2011 total represents a disturbing 94% reduction in annual freight volume from the 2007 peak.
Despite the major announcement in July 2012 of the appointment of a new cargo terminal operator at Robin Hood, the ten months to October 2012 saw only 204 tonnes of cargo pass through the airport: a doubling of the previous year’s total, but a mere drop in the ocean compared for example to the 270,000 tonnes which pass annually through East Midlands Airport.
Gordon Millward, Regional Chairman of the FSB, commented:
‘The abysmally low volumes of air freight passing through South Yorkshire’s only commercial airport is just further evidence of the present inability of the Sheffield City Region to compete with neighbouring regions. South Yorkshire needs urgently to find means of opening up access to the world’s markets, and we believe that the only hope currently is to reinstate Sheffield City Airport to allow local entrepreneurs to have ready access to customers and trading partners in Europe and beyond. The lack of international transport links is squeezing Sheffield City Region dry of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. When economic regeneration kicks in – and we hope that will be soon – neighbouring regions will be in a much healthier position to exploit the global opportunities and South Yorkshire will be left standing at the departure gate. International trading partners and inward investors look to deal primarily in locations which have convenient transport links, fast connections to the capital and – crucially – ready access to a major international ‘hub’ airport. On all counts, South Yorkshire is destined to be a clear loser.
‘The FSB has been banging this drum for many weeks but the local councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership seem united in a common purpose of undermining the small and medium businesses that create the region’s wealth. There appears to be total apathy on the part of the authorities whose job is to provide an infrastructure on which prosperity can be built. The councils have washed their hands of the issue in a shameful dereliction of responsibility which demonstrates their indifference towards the strategic needs of the business community, whilst the unelected Local Enterprise Partnership lacks the vision to see beyond the property values of a state-subsidised business park.
‘The City Region desperately needs a route of access to the key customers, suppliers and partners in the major commercial and industrial centres of western Europe and an open door to global markets. We asked the directors of the Local Enterprise Partnership in a letter on 22 November to announce the partnership’s strategy for the future of international business travel, and we have so far not been granted the favour of a reply. The authorities seem blissfully unaware of an impending crisis of business competitiveness which is of their own making.
‘We therefore continue to maintain emphatically that the former Sheffield City Airport has a vital part to play in the future of Sheffield City Region. Proposals for its permanent obliteration are a dangerous and unnecessary gamble with an existing asset that is fundamental to be the economic salvation of the City Region.’
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