UK government endorses third runway at Heathrow

UK government endorses third runway at Heathrow

Published at: 2016-10-26 11:18 | Author: CIJ Journal
After decades of contentious debate and stalling, Heathrow Airport is one step closer to getting a third runway. The British government threw its support behind the controversial plans during a heated cabinet committee meeting on Tuesday. The decision, however, will likely face a battery of legal challenges and is already drawing sharp rebukes from politicians and environmentalists alike.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the project “undeliverable,” while Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative MP and strong environmental activist, said he is resigning his parliamentary seat in protest of the “catastrophic” GBP 18bn plans. John Sauven, head of Greenpeace UK, added that a third runway at Heathrow would be “a waste of time, money and lives.” Gatwick airport, which had been hoping to be tapped for expansion, also issued a statement saying that the decision was “not the right answer for Britain.”

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, echoed the sentiment, calling the plans bad for the city as well as the UK. “There are more people affected by noise because of Heathrow than people affected by the airports in Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich and Madrid combined,” Khan said. “The air in London is a killer. It makes you sick, and it's unlawful.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, meanwhile, called the move “truly momentous,” adding that it would boost trade and create up to 77,000 jobs over the next 14 years.

“A new runway at Heathrow will improve connectivity in the UK itself and crucially boost our connections with the rest of the world, supporting exports, trade and job opportunities,” Grayling said. “This isn’t just a great deal for business, it’s a great deal for passengers who will also benefit from access to more airlines, destinations and flights.”

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