Airport Commission calls for third Heathrow runway

Heathrow Airport

THE British Airport Commission has recommended that a new, third runway should be added to Heathrow. Other options that had been in the pot were a second runway for Gatwick or the extension of one of Heathrow’s existing runways.
In a report released on Wednesday (July 1) the commission plumped for building a new runway at Heathrow, an expansion expected to cost £17 billion (€24 billion), on the proviso that restrictions on noise and pollution could be put in place. These would include a ban on flights at night, a levy that would pay for noise insulation for neighbouring homes and community buildings such as schools and a legally binding commitment on air quality.
The commission has also insisted that this expansion should be the last, and called for legislation to rule out the building of a fourth runway at Heathrow.
With the restrictions added, the commission said that Heathrow was the “clear and unanimous” choice for expansion.
Their recommendation will now have to be considered by the government, and a political battle will precede any new runway for Heathrow. Heathrow is in a well-populated area, and around 800 homes would need to be demolished to make way for the plan.
London Mayor Boris Johnson tweeted his response, saying he was disappointed at the commission’s choice, and adding that a third runway would “never be built.” David Cameron has also in the past ruled it out.
Greenpeace are amongst many environmental groups who have criticised the expansion on environmental grounds, the organisations UK executive director saying today: “A third runway at Heathrow is an environmental and political minefield. It would jeopardise the UK’s climate targets, worsen air pollution in London, and open up a political can of worms for David Cameron.”
But the chair of the Airport Commission, Sir Howard Davies, has called on the government to make a quick decision, or be in danger of failing to “take the steps needed to maintain [Britain’s] position as a well-connected, open, trading economy”.

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