David Cameron touches down at Newquay Airport on whistle-stop visit to storm hit region (From Mid Devon Star)
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David Cameron touches down at Newquay Airport on whistle-stop visit to storm hit region
6:10pm Monday 10th February 2014 in Devon
David Cameron arrived at Newquay Airport yesterday as part of his whirlwind tour of flood hit and storm damaged parts of the South West.
The Prime Minister has said Cornwall Council will get cash to help pay for storm damage.
The Government will also subsidise flights out of Newquay Airport in an effort to help maintain transport links.
David Cameron announced a £5 reduction in the cost of tickets for domestic flights from Newquay, with the Government effectively paying the airport development levy usually imposed on departing passengers.
The saving will be delivered through a Government grant to the airport's owner Cornwall Council and will take effect from Wednesday for at least two weeks.
The damage to the train line at Dawlish, which cut rail links between London and Cornwall, could take up to six weeks to repair, Network Rail has said.
Additional flights between Newquay and Gatwick have been scheduled by Flybe over the next fortnight, with a larger aircraft also being deployed.
Flybe will double the number of weekday flights it offers between Newquay and Gatwick from three services a day to six during an initial two-week period whilst demand for the new schedule is monitored and assessed, the airline said.
Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard and the Council’s Chief Executive Andrew Kerr met the Prime Minister and gave details of the impact of the storms on communities in Cornwall and outlined the works which are taking place to repair damaged roads, buildings and sea defences.
“Cornwall is one of the areas which has been worst affected by the recent storms and the bill for repairs is rising all the time” said Mr Pollard.
“The latest estimate of the costs of repairing our infrastructure is £21.35m and we emphasised to the Prime Minister the importance of ensuring that Cornwall does not have to fight against other areas of the country for the additional funding it needs”.
“We are also very grateful for the Government’s decision to reduce the threshold for the Bellwin scheme to help large authorities like Cornwall and we have asked Mr Cameron to further extend the time for submitting claims under the scheme to give us enough time to put our bid together."
Chief Executive Andrew Kerr said that the visit of the Prime Minister had also provided the opportunity to emphasise the importance of maintaining the air link to Gatwick to the economy of Cornwall. “The impact of the damage to the rail line highlights the importance of maintaining the Newquay to Gatwick flights” he said.
“The Prime Minister certainly recognised the impact of the closure of the main rail line on Cornwall and announced that the Department of Transport would be providing a grant enabling us to give a reduction of £5 per person per flight for the next two weeks. The grant, which will begin this Wednesday, will be available to people travelling on all UK flights out of Newquay during this two week period.”
Mr Cameron also joined in the Twitter campaign to tell the UK and further afield that Cornwall, Devon and the SW is #openforbusiness.
This was launched online after concerns that images of storm damage worldwide could be costing the region millions of pounds in lost cash as visitors stay away.
The PM also visited Dorset and met with local residents at The Cove House Inn to hear about the storms that have battered Chesil Beach.
And to see the "great work" being done by the Army and Environment Agency to rebuild sea defences.