Heathrow has been given government approval for the construction of a third runway at the airport.
Official approval was given after this morning’s (25 October) Cabinet meeting. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that today’s decision was “truly momentous.” The final decision is still potentially a year away, with a public consultation and a vote by MPs yet to take place.
A spokesperson for Heathrow said: “We welcome the news that Heathrow is the Government’s preferred site for a new runway and look forward to hearing the full details later from the Transport Secretary.
“Expansion of Heathrow is the only option that will connect all the UK to global growth, helping to build a stronger and fairer economy.
“We await the full details, but Heathrow stands ready to work with Government, businesses, airlines and our local communities to deliver an airport that is fair, affordable and secures the benefits of expansion for the whole of the UK.”
Back Heathrow, the campaign group in favour of expansion, said in a statement: “This is a significant moment for thousands of residents living near Heathrow who back expansion because they have waited a long time for today’s news. It’s now or never. 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.”
However, there is also substantial opposition to the new runway, with both Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan voicing their disapproval. Johnson said today that a third runway is “undeliverable” and it is “very likely it will be stopped.”
Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park and a vocal opponent of Heathrow expansion told Parliament today that the Government’s decision was “not only wrong, it’s doomed.” He added that one million people “will directly suffer because of the environmental harm this project unavoidably produces.” Emma Steel, a resident of the nearby village of Harmondsworth and whose house will be right on the perimeter fence of the new expansion area, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “I’m so sad, I’ve shed a few tears,” she says. “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe they’re actually doing this to us.”