BURNHAM-on-Sea MP James Heappey has welcomed the approval of a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Approval was given in Parliament last Monday, despite opposition from residents and environmental campaigners.

Mr Heappey, a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, has been a keen supporter of a third runway at Heathrow, saying it is the 'best option' for business in the south west.

“Heathrow was always going to be the best option for the South West with its proximity to the M4, M3 and the Great Western mainline an obvious selling point for us," he said.

"Expansion at Gatwick, Stansted or a new airport east of London would have been much less convenient and would deliver much less value to the Somerset economy."

With plans for a new westward rail link now well advanced, the airport will soon be less than an hour from Bristol Parkway and under two hours from Highbridge, Castle Cary and Weston-Super-Mare, he said.

Countering claims the expansion could hit Bristol Airport, Mr Heappey said the region needed both additional long-haul capacity - at Heathrow - alongside a growing network from Bristol.

“Bristol Airport is fast growing, increasingly well connected, has lots of local businesses in its supply chain and employs hundreds of my constituents too – I want to see the airport grow to meet the needs of our growing economy," he added.

"Whenever I can fly somewhere from Bristol, I do. But the reality is that the runway length the sheer economics of the aviation industry will mean that for most long-haul destinations we’ll need a growing Heathrow too."

Heathrow Airport Ltd visited recently attended an event hosted by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce to explain the opportunities available in the airport’s supply chain to county firms.

And Sedgemoor District Council has proposed the former Royal Ordnance Factory, at Puriton, as a site for one of the Heathrow Logistics Hubs.

The proposal has reached the longlist alongside 100 other sites across the country.

A decision on which proposals will reach the shortlist is due later in the year.