The British Government has confirmed that a third runway at Heathrow has been given the green light, as proposals to expand an existing runway at the airport or build a second runway at Gatwick have been rejected.
British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The step that Government is taking today is truly momentous. I am proud that after years of discussion and delay this Government is taking decisive action to secure the UK’s place in the global aviation market – securing jobs and business opportunities for the next decade and beyond.”
Grayling said expanding the west London hub will improve connectivity in the UK and with the rest of the world, supporting exports, trade and job opportunities.
He went on: “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.”
He added that the decision will be “subject to full and fair public consultation”, describing it as “hugely important” for those living near the airport.
He said: “We have made clear that expansion will only be allowed to proceed on the basis of a world class package of compensation and mitigation worth up to £2.6 billion, including community support, insulation, and respite from noise – balancing the benefits and the impacts of expansion.”
Harmondsworth is one of the areas which will be worst affected by plans to knock down hundreds of homes to clear the way for a new flight path. Homeowners have vowed to fight on after hearing their community could be destroyed.
A handful of residents and campaigners gathered in The Five Bells pub on the edge of the village as news trickled through that the British Government had opted to back a third Heathrow runway. Some 783 houses face demolition.
The decision was made at a meeting of ministers in the airport sub-committee chaired by Theresa May.
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) claimed that the new runway will bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy in Britain worth up to £61 billion.
Officials said that up to 77,000 additional local jobs are expected to be created over the next 14 years, while the airport has committed to creating 5,000 new apprenticeships over the same period.
Speaking at Downing Street, Grayling said: “This is a really big decision for this country but it’s also the clearest sign, post the referendum, that this country is very clearly open for business.”