The UK government has approved plans to expand Heathrow Airport in London by adding a new runway, which will come into operation between 2025 and 2030. The plans for the new runway, which will expand Heathrow’s capacity from 85.5 million to 130 million passengers, have been approved by the government’s economic sub-committee chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May and must be presented to Parliament for approval by July 11th to allow detailed planning to begin.
The case for the new runway is that expansion will increase airport capacity, create about 60,000 new jobs and generate about £70 billion in total economic benefits by 2050, according to estimates. The cost of building the new runway is estimated at £14 billion.
The proposal has met with considerable opposition, including Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary and MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip, a local constituency, who previously said he would “lie down in front of bulldozers” to stop it. Environmental groups and other political parties have expressed strong reservations about the Heathrow expansion, citing noise and atmospheric pollution as well as disruption to transport and the destruction of local villages. Gatwick, Stansted and Luton have all been proposed as alternative airports for expansion. The story continues.