Date
8 December 2016
A British Airways flight comes in to land at Heathrow airport in west London. Photo: Reuters
A British Airways flight comes in to land at Heathrow airport in west London. Photo: Reuters

UK govt clears Heathrow airport expansion

The British government has approved a third runway at Heathrow airport, set to be one of the country’s biggest construction projects after voting to leave the European Union.

The plan, which has split Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government, was chosen over another proposal, which was to expand Gatwick, a smaller airport south of London, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Heathrow and Gatwick plans were drawn up to avert a looming shortage of airport capacity in one of the world’s most important international aviation markets, the newspaper said.

Heathrow’s expansion, approved by a cabinet committee on Tuesday, still faces hurdles.

The plan, which has been opposed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and other prominent members of May’s party, will need the approval of Parliament.

Zac Goldsmith, a Tory member of Parliament representing an area near Heathrow, resigned in protest.

Lawmakers will not vote on the plan until next year or 2018, and legal challenges may still arise, the report said.

Construction will not start until 2021, after the next general elections.

The government said Heathrow’s expansion would generate 61 billion pounds (US$75 billion) for the country’s economy over 60 years.

Critics say the plan would increase air and noise pollution in the city.

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