The UK House of Commons has unambiguously backed plans to expand Heathrow with 415 members voting in favour of the project and only 119 against it. Members of Parliament from all political spectrums supported the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement, a document that proposes the addition of a third runway and an additional terminal at the west London airport. The vote on the evening of June 25 cleared the way for the submission an application for development consent which is expected to unlock billions of pounds in growth and create tens of thousands of new skilled jobs.
The decision follows a rigorous, evidence-based selection process – including review by the independent Airports Commission and the Government – which determined that expanding Heathrow offers the greatest benefit of the options that were put on the table to increase airport capacity it the southeast of England. Alongside the development, Heathrow has made binding commitments to deliver a £2.6bn compensation package to local residents, implement a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights and guarantee to meet air quality obligations.
The £14bn project will be largest private developments in Europe and when it is complete it is expected to open slots for up to 40 new long-haul trading links, double cargo capacity, and create opportunities for new domestic flights.
Heathrow Airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead. We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best connected hub airport in the world.”
Over the coming days, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to designate the final Airports National Policy Statement approved by Parliament. This will set the policy framework for Heathrow’s northwest runway development consent application. Heathrow is preparing to hold a second public consultation on its plans before submitting a development consent order application to the Planning Inspectorate, kick-starting an approval process expected to take 18 months. If development concent is granted construction could begin in 2021 ahead of the new runway opening in 2026.