Transport Secretary refuses to use emergency act to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport

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Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said she is “not persuaded” that the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 would be successful in keeping the airport open when challenged in the House of Commons last week.

Doncaster MPs Ed Miliband and Dame Rosie Winterton previously called on the government to use this act which would stop the airport closing because of the air emergency services that are based there.

The Secretary of State for Transport was questioned by Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley on her commitment to Doncaster Sheffield Airport following the Prime Minister’s several vows to save it.

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She asked: “The Prime Minister promised to protect Doncaster Sheffield Airport during her leadership campaign and she gave a promise to the member for Don Valley […] at the first Prime Minister’s questions to do what she could to protect the airport.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie TrevelyanTransport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan

“This isn’t just a commercial decision, the Mayor has written to Peel this morning with names of potential bidders and a reiteration of financial support to keep the airport running, so will the Secretary of State agree to me, the Mayor, and members across this house, to consider using her powers under the Civil Contingencies Act in order to keep this strategic asset running?”

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The Transport Secretary responded: “I’m very pleased to hear that there are new proposals on the table working with local authorities and the Peel Group to find ways forward.

“The issue around the Civil Contingencies Act to prevent closure, I have looked at in some detail, and whilst all things around the Act are owned and determined by the Cabinet office. Ministers, I am not persuaded actually that the closure of DSA would be able to be undertaken under that act.”

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Her words mark the second time she has flouted responsibility for the airport’s future.

Earlier this month, she was criticised for her appearance on ITV Calendar where she said that the responsibility to save the airport lies with Doncaster Council.

Following the announcement by the Doncaster and South Yorkshire Mayors yesterday that there are several bidders hoping to buy the airport, the race continues to find a solution before its planned closure on 31 October.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Dominic Brown, editor.

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