Friday 28 April 2017

Third runway at London Heathrow given the green light in 'truly momentous' move

Emirates Airbus A380 plane landing over houses in Myrtle Avenue near Heathrow Airport, as a third Heathrow runway has been given the go-ahead, the Government has confirmed. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Emirates Airbus A380 plane landing over houses in Myrtle Avenue near Heathrow Airport, as a third Heathrow runway has been given the go-ahead, the Government has confirmed. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Heathrow is ready to deliver a third runway that is "fair, affordable and secures the benefits of expansion for the whole of the UK", the airport said today.

Business groups, politicians and trade unions welcomed the end of the Government's "dithering" by backing Heathrow, but voiced dismay at the ongoing delay before the airport can expand.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the pilots' union Balpa, said: "We are pleased the Government has finally taken a long overdue stance but it's disappointing the definitive vote will not take place for at least another year.

"Heathrow is already operating at almost maximum capacity so expansion is vital to the UK economy and aviation industry."

Mick Rix, national officer of the GMB, said Heathrow needs expansion if it is to retain its world class status as a global hub airport.

"This not only protects the 80,000 jobs directly employed at the airport but will increase to a further 114,000 jobs that will be needed, and 10,000 local apprenticeship schemes."

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Today's decision is a welcome boost for British business, which could deliver up to £211 billion (€237bn) of extra economic growth, 180,000 jobs and double the apprenticeships at Heathrow to a total of 10,000. We now need to see budgets committed and shovels in the ground as soon as possible."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The Heathrow expansion is absolutely vital for Britain. It will help our economy grow faster and stronger. This investment has the potential to create thousands of high-quality jobs and apprenticeships right across the UK."

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Put simply, it's about time. Successive governments have prevaricated for far too long in the face of a blindingly obvious need for more runway capacity.

"Businesses will now want assurances that the final approval process for Heathrow's new runway will be smooth and swift, so that construction can begin as soon as possible."

Louise Ellman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, said: "After decades of dithering, the decision has been made and it is the right one. The Transport Select Committee has consistently backed the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, with the package of accompanying measures recommended by the Airports Commission, as the best solution to increasing airport capacity in the South East.

"A third runway at Heathrow is good for business, good for Britain."

Paul Drechsler, president of the CBI, said: "The Prime Minister's green light to expand the UK's aviation capacity comes as an enormous relief to firms in every corner of the country.

"A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news, especially as the country has waited nearly 50 years for this decision. It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focussed firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets."

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said: "Giving the green light to Heathrow expansion is the right one for industry and the country. Heathrow will be a key linchpin in enabling post-Brexit trade and this decision provides reassurance to manufacturers that access to direct, efficient and cost-effective trade routes to the rest of the world will be backed by action and not just words.

Ralph Smyth, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "Building a third runway at Heathrow would in itself take a huge chunk out of the Green Belt, but creating the biggest airport in the world on London's western edge would have an even more disastrous impact.

"Pressure for extra development would be felt in almost every village from the north of Oxfordshire to the south coast, urbanising and industrialising swathes of our most precious countryside."

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