Gov­ern­ment gives green light for third run­way

Trans­port sec­re­tary says de­ci­sive ac­tion needed to se­cure jobs and busi­nesses

Uxbridge Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Goolis­tan Cooper goolis­tan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE gov­ern­ment has backed a third run­way to be built at Heathrow Air­port.

Of­fi­cially an­nounc­ing its sup­port, trans­port sec­re­tary Chris Grayling said Tues­day’s de­ci­sion marked a ‘mo­men­tous’ step.

The gov­ern­ment’s back­ing will be sub­ject to a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and has al­ready re­ceived crit­i­cism from cam­paign­ers.

Mr Grayling said: “The step that gov­ern­ment is tak­ing to­day is truly mo­men­tous.”

“I am proud that after years of dis­cus­sion and de­lay this gov­ern­ment is tak­ing de­ci­sive ac­tion to se­cure the UK’s place in the global avi­a­tion mar­ket – se­cur­ing jobs and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the next decade and be­yond,” he added.

“A new run­way at Heathrow will im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity in the UK it­self and cru­cially boost our con­nec­tions with the rest of the world, sup­port­ing ex­ports, trade and job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“This isn’t just a great deal for busi­ness, it’s a great deal for pas­sen­gers who will also ben­e­fit from ac­cess to more air­lines, des­ti­na­tions and flights.

“This is an im­por­tant is­sue for the whole coun­try. That is why the gov­ern­ment’s pre­ferred scheme will be sub­ject to full and fair pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

“Of course it is also hugely im­por­tant for those liv­ing near the air­port. That is why we have made clear that ex­pan­sion will only be al­lowed to pro­ceed on the ba­sis of a world class pack­age of com­pen­sa­tion and mit­i­ga­tion worth up to £2.6 bil­lion, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity sup­port, in­su­la­tion, and respite from noise – bal­anc­ing the ben­e­fits and the im­pacts of ex­pan­sion.”

Among se­nior Tories who have ve­he­mently op­posed a third run­way at Heathrow is Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip MP Boris John­son, who ar­gued against the pro­posal dur­ing his eight years as Lon­don Mayor, and Zac Gold­smith, MP for Rich­mond Park, who ran for Lon­don mayor ear­lier in the year and is now ru­moured to be con­sid­er­ing re­sign­ing his seat in protest. Mr John­son was ex­pected to de­liver a speech after the Gazette had gone to press.

In a Tweet, Mr Gold­smith said: “Fol­low­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s cat­a­strophic Heathrow an­nounce­ment, I will be meet­ing my con­stituents later to­day be­fore mak­ing a state­ment.”

Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan and John McDon­nell, Shadow Chan­cel­lor and MP for Hayes have both hit out at to­day’s de­ci­sion.

Mr Khan said the gov­ern­ment is “run­ning roughshod over Lon­don­ers’ views” and said: “Heathrow ex­pan­sion is the wrong de­ci­sion for Lon­don, and the wrong de­ci­sion for the whole of Bri­tain.”

Mr McDon­nell said: “I’ll con­tinue to sup­port my con­stituents in cam­paign­ing against this run­way so that it never sees the light of day.”

Keith Tay­lor, a vocal anti­ex­pan­sion cam­paigner and Green MEP for the South East who sits on the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s Trans­port com­mit­tee, said: “There are no two ways about it, this is a dis­as­trous de­ci­sion for the peo­ple of the South East, Lon­don, Bri­tain, and the planet.”

Sup­port­ing the de­ci­sion the Back Heathrow cam­paign said it was ‘now or never’ for ex­pan­sion. Cam­paign di­rec­tor, Rob Gray, said: “Build­ing a new run­way at Heathrow has plenty of cross-party sup­port in Par­lia­ment and back­ing from the ma­jor­ity of in­ter­na­tional air­lines, busi­ness groups, trade unions, ex­porters and com­mu­ni­ties sur­round­ing the air­port. This is a golden op­por­tu­nity for the UK that must not be squan­dered.”

Fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion there is likely to be another pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and it is ex­pected MPs will vote on the mat­ter next year.

Photo: Jack Tay­lor/Getty Im­ages

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