Government backs Heathrow expansion plans

Government backs Heathrow expansion plans

The Government has backed plans for a new runway at Heathrow airport, opening the way for a parliamentary vote after decades of delays.

The project could still face challenges before building starts.

Heathrow is Europe's busiest airport but is now operating at full capacity. In the past, plans to expand the airport have faced opposition from local communities and environmentalists but the current 14 billion pound expansion plan is making progress.

The cabinet gave its blessing to the new runway plan on Tuesday, said transport minister Chris Grayling, and lawmakers should now vote on the issue within 21 days.

The decision comes after almost half a century of indecision on how and where to add new airport capacity in densely populated southeast England. If it goes ahead it will be the first full-length runway built in the London area for 70 years.

"Expansion at Heathrow presents a unique opportunity to deliver a multi-billion pound boost to our economy, strengthen our global links and maintain our position as a world leader in aviation," Grayling said in a statement.

In an attempt to satisfy opponents of the scheme, he said that the new runway would be delivered within existing air quality obligations, and include a 6.5-hour scheduled night flight ban, plus compensation for local residents and a new independent body would be set up to monitor aviation noise.

The expansion plan could face legal challenges in future, however, with four local councils and environmental group Greenpeace amongst those who could seek a judicial review of the project.

Heathrow, owned by Ferrovial, Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corporation among others, still has to secure planning permission, with construction slated to start in 2021 and the new runway operational by 2026.

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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