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Third runway at Heathrow gets green light in 'truly momentous' move

PUBLISHED: 11:57 25 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:57 25 October 2016

British Airways planes taking off and landing at London's Heathrow Airport. The Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports) sub-committee chaired by Theresa May will choose between a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick or extending an existing runway at Heathrow today. Picture: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

British Airways planes taking off and landing at London's Heathrow Airport. The Economy and Industrial Strategy (Airports) sub-committee chaired by Theresa May will choose between a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick or extending an existing runway at Heathrow today. Picture: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

A third Heathrow runway has been given the go-ahead, the government has confirmed.

Proposals to expand an existing runway at Heathrow or build a second runway at Gatwick were rejected

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.”

Mr 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.”

The Transport Secretary 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 £2.6bn, including community support, insulation, and respite from noise - balancing the benefits and the impacts of expansion.”

The decision was made at a meeting of ministers in the airport sub-committee chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The committee is made up of key Cabinet members including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom.

The Department for Transport (DfT) claimed that the new runway will bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61bn.

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.

The Government said it will take “all necessary steps” to ensure enhanced connections within the UK, including “where appropriate, ring-fencing a suitable proportion of new slots for domestic routes”.

Speaking at Downing Street, Mr 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.

“We’ve thought long and hard about this. The committee considered all three options. There were three very good options on the table.

“But we believe a third runway for Heathrow is the best option for our future. It’s the best for the whole country to create better connectivity to the different regions of the United Kingdom and to provide the best trade links to the world.”

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