Heathrow Airport runway expansion proposed
Britain laid out its proposals for a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday, launching a public consultation on an infrastructure project seen as key to its post-Brexit future.
The UK government backed a $22bn expansion of Heathrow in October, ending 25 years of indecision.
While the government says the new runway is vital for the economy and businesses, critics fear the impact on local residents and the environment.
A policy statement unveiled on Thursday sets out what planning regulations the proposed runway will need to meet to be approved and outlines why Heathrow is the preferred option.
"By backing the north-west runway at Heathrow airport and publishing our proposals today, we are sending a clear signal that when we leave the EU, Britain is open for business," said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
"Doing nothing is no longer a choice we can afford to make."
Compensation worth up to £2.6bn will be made available to those affected, and that development consent will only be granted "if the new runway can be delivered within existing air quality limits and climate change obligations", officials said.
The consultation will last 16 weeks and will close on May 25. The policy statement will also be scrutinised by lawmakers, ahead of a vote on the new runway. Heathrow is the main hub of British Airways, which is owned by IAG.
Virgin Atlantic said it hoped the expansion would improve consumer choice at the airport. (Reuters)