Manchester Airport wrong place for Enterprise Zone
A new report, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) North West Regional Group, casts doubt on the wisdom of locating an Enterprise Zone at Manchester Airport.
Enterprise Zones, re-launched earlier this year, are supposed to stimulate jobs and new business activity which will last, fit with wider economic priorities and maximise benefits across a wide area. But evidence from the first wave of Enterprise Zones launched in the 1980s has shown that they have tended to displace businesses from other areas. Past experience has also shown few of the jobs established in the Zones remain after economic support and Enterprise Zone status is removed.
Specifically, the report, written by a team of independent and nationally recognised consultants, establishes that Manchester Airport is not a sustainable location in any event for an Enterprise Zone.
Andy Yuille, Senior Policy & Campaigns Officer for CPRE North West, said: “The evidence suggests that a Manchester Airport Enterprise Zone will likely suck economic life from the rest of Manchester and the wider North West. There’s a real risk that major development in the Green Belt here will undermine attempts to revitalise town and city centres elsewhere.
“Nothing in the proposals we’ve seen so far indicates how this prosperity black hole will be prevented. It’s certainly not the case that only businesses that need an airport location are being targeted.
“As the airport is less accessible by sustainable means than the city or other town centres, it will also increase car use, congestion, pressure for new roads to be built in the Green Belt and overall carbon emissions.
“There is a need to attract investment and create jobs, but looking at the prosperity of Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas as a whole, this just isn’t the right place to do it. It will add pressure to build on the Green Belt south of Manchester while taking potential jobs and investment away from locations to the north of the conurbation that really need an economic boost. It also means that greater carbon savings will have to be found elsewhere, which is a huge national challenge.”