The Government has backed an investment of up to £500 million to build a new rail link between Heathrow and the South West.
The link is expected to take more than one million cars off the roads around Heathrow and create the airport’s first rail link outside London.
Steve Lamb, chairman of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP), said: “This is great news for a number of regions across the UK.
“A common piece of feedback we hear from local enterprises and organisations looking to move to the area is access to Heathrow is a significant business benefit as it opens the door to the rest of the world’s emerging markets.
“The WRAtH project will give confidence to our businesses in the Thames Valley which is the most productive sub-region outside of London and is worth nearly £30 billion.”
The new rail line will cut up to 45 minutes off the journey to Heathrow from as far west as South Wales.
Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council and lead on WRAtH for TVB LEP, said: “We are delighted that WRAtH has been endorsed by the Secretary of State for Transport today (July 12).
“This is a project Slough has been working on for more than three years with colleagues across Berkshire, gathering support from local authorities, the business community, LEPs, Chambers of Commerce and individuals.
“WRAtH will provide a huge boost to the UK economy, generating an additional £1.5 billion economic activity, with £800 million of that and 42,000 jobs generated in the Thames Valley alone.”