Heathrow Airport was last night given the go ahead by Parliament to expand and build a third runway as MPs voted 415 to 119 in favour of the contentious £14 billion development plan.
MPs from across political parties joined forces to support the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement and the UK hub said it is now preparing an application for development consent which will see construction begin in 2021.
However, the pathway to expansion is unlikely to be smooth amid legal bids by environmental campaigners and local communities to get the massive project stopped.
Heathrow said with up to 40 new long-haul trading links, double the cargo capacity, more competition and choice for passengers and new domestic flights – an expanded Heathrow will make Britain the “best connected country in the world” and “sends the strongest signal to date that Britain is open for business”.
The airport said there is also a commitment to deliver an expanded Heathrow affordably with airport charges staying close to today’s levels.
Heathrow chief executive officer (CEO), John Holland-Kaye said: “Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead. This vote will see us deliver more jobs, create a lasting legacy of skills for future generations and guarantee expansion is delivered responsibly.
“We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best connected hub airport in the world.”
“Over the coming days, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to designate the final Airports National Policy Statement approved by Parliament.
“This will set the policy framework for Heathrow’s northwest runway development consent application. Heathrow is currently preparing to hold a second public consultation on its plans before submitting a development consent order application to the Planning Inspectorate, kick-starting an approval process expected to take 18 months.
“In addition to Heathrow’s consultation, the development consent process will provide further opportunities for residents and stakeholders to influence Heathrow’s proposal. If Heathrow is granted development consent, construction would begin in 2021 ahead of the new runway opening in 2026.”