TRANSPORT Minister Baroness Susan Kramer heard the case for a rail link to Leeds Bradford Airport during a visit to the area yesterday.

She discussed the issue with airport bosses and Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland who has consistently campaigned for the link.

Baroness Kramer said the Government had been funding local transport projects through the West Yorkshire Transport Fund and she argued it would take a local push to make sure the issue was tackled as a priority.

She added: "One thing I can assure you is that the people in London don't know better than the people here."

She described the benefits the airport brought to the area and stressed the importance of the rail link to the region as a whole, arguing that it should not be seen in isolation.

"Issues like value for money always matter," she said. "But they don't sit in isolation, they have to sit in that broader context."

Her visit to the airport came on the day the York to Harrogate railway line was earmarked as a top priority for improvements.

The Electrification Task Force, has put the York-Harrogate-Leeds line in a list of 12 "top tier" priorities for electrification.

Its final report this week said converting the line could help deliver greater economic growth for the "Northern Powerhouse".

Mr Mulholland stressed that the progress with the proposed Leeds to York electrification was very significant and he argued that it would be impossible to go ahead with that without creating the short link to the airport.

He stressed that LBA had been a great success story and was a huge employer in the area, but easier access was needed.

"You have got more people going to Manchester airport from this city region than you do actually using the airport at the moment. That has to change," he said.

Mr Mulholland described the Baroness's visit as "a great opportunity to further push the case for the rail link and the many benefits it will have for Yorkshire as a whole".

Leeds Bradford chief executive officer John Parkin said passenger numbers at the airport had grown from 2.2 million to 3.3 million today in a short space of time and they were still growing. But he said potential passengers from surrounding areas such as York could not get to Leeds Bradford by rail - although they could take a train to Manchester airport.