Heathrow expansion takes off
A THIRD runway at Heathrow Airport has been given the go-ahead by the Cabinet, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced on Tuesday.
The project was approved at a meeting of ministers on the Cabinet’s economic sub-committee.
Mr Grayling told the Commons: “Today I am laying before Parliament our final proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), which signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow Airport.”
He added: “My department has met with local residents and fully understands their strength of feeling, but this is a decision taken in the national interest and based on detailed evidence.”
The Government set out its support for a third runway in a National Policy Statement (NPS), which will be published now it has been approved by the Cabinet. A vote must then be held in the Commons within 21 sitting days.
The airport still needs to publish detailed expansion plans, which will be subjected to a public consultation and a planning inquiry.
It hopes to receive final planning permission and begin construction in 2021.
Speaking after the announcement, Hillingdon Labour Group’s leader Cllr Peter Curling said all political parties across the borough are united in their opposition of the third runway plans.
He said: “It comes as no real surprise to me that this government has decided to push ahead with Heath- row expansion, despite figures within their own party strongly opposing it.
“The political parties across Hillingdon are united in our opposition to a third runway and we will work together with residents however we can to voice and demonstrate this opposition. People’s homes and communities face being destroyed, not to mention increased noise, congestion and pollution in the area.
“We stand by our commitment to a better Heathrow, not a bigger one.”
Legal action is likely following Cabinet approval, with many residents’ and environmental groups opposed to the runway over concerns about noise and emissions.
They are expected to launch a High Court challenge on the grounds that the Government’s decision to support the scheme is unlawful.
Speaking out in support of the plans, Confederation of British Industry deputy director-general Josh Hardie said: “It’s fantastic that the new runway at Heathrow is getting closer to take-off.
“All the more so as the United Kingdom has waited for nearly half a century for this decision.
“Expanding our aviation capacity, and creating new flight routes to rapidly growing markets, is mission critical to ensuring Britain can compete on the post-Brexit world stage.
“The new air links the runway will create will unlock growth and help create jobs at home, and enable more businesses – especially our many innovative and ambitious small and medium-sized ones – to export their goods and services to booming markets.
“Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it’s crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible. From Southampton to the Shetlands, firms in all parts of the UK will be looking to their MPs to approve the national policy statement, giving a timely vote of confidence in Global Britain’s future.”
Rob Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3 Runway Coalition, added: “By making this decision, the government have failed people and our environment.
“They have failed people by subjecting over 2.2m Londoners to new aircraft noise with Heathrow expansion, failed workers by supporting a short term, low quality job creation scheme with no real long-lasting benefits and failed taxpayers by agreeing a bailout plan with Heathrow should it fail later.”