The Cabinet of the United Kingdom Government has approved plans for the expansion of Heathrow Airport, which will include the construction of a third runway and a sixth terminal at the west London facility.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling made the announcement following a meetings of the government’s economic subcommittee and cabinet. He described the decision as a “historic moment” but that the project would only proceed if stringent air quality commitments were met. He added that approval had been given in the national interest, with 15% of the new slots created being ring-fenced for domestic flights. Grayling also committed to ensuring the airport keeps charges near to current levels in real terms. The improvements to the airport are to be funded entirely privately, and Grayling stated that he hoped the work could be completed by 2026. The government also confirmed its support for expansion of other UK airports within their available runway capacity.
The cabinet approval, which makes expansion of Heathrow official government policy, starts the countdown to members of parliament voting on the matter within the next 21 working days. The project has gained widespread support from British industry, but faces opposition from local campaign groups concerned about noise, pollution and traffic congestion. Should the House of Commons support the government’s position, Heathrow Airport will be asked to prepare a detailed design ahead of further ratification and approval to proceed with the development. The project could still be contested in court.
Photo: The UK government has approved plans to expand Heathrow Airport in West London. (BravoNovember – Aviation Image Network)
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