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Media: UK to approve 3rd runway for Heathrow

Media: UK to approve 3rd runway for Heathrow

The British government will approve plans to add a controversial third runway to London's chronically congested Heathrow Airport, British media said Wednesday.
The British government said it has already agreed in principle to add capacity at Heathrow if it does not lead to Britain violating European air pollution targets, but an official announcement was not due until later this month.
However the British Broadcasting Corp. and Sky News said the government had agreed to the third runway. The BBC cited unidentified government sources; Sky did not identify its sources.
No one picked up the phone at British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street office late Wednesday. The Department for Transport declined comment ahead of the announcement, due to be made to lawmakers.
Environmental groups are fiercely opposed to the proposed expansion, saying it makes a mockery of the British government's pledge to cut down on carbon emissions. Area residents are also upset at the increased noise pollution and the loss of hundreds of homes if the runway project goes forward.
Proponents say the runway would allow Heathrow to keep its position as Europe's top travel hub and help create 65,000 new jobs. The airport is already the busiest airport in Europe by passenger volume, but limited capacity and overcrowding is threatening its position.
The issue has ignited fierce debate in London, whose Conservative mayor is opposed to the expansion.
"I don't think the arguments stack up," Boris Johnson said last year. "It's not just a question of pollution _ it's the noise."
There has also been strong dissent from within British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party; Labour lawmaker John McDonnell, whose constituency includes the airport, called the proposal disastrous and on Wednesday promised a storm of protest against the move.
Britain's Cabinet had also appeared divided over the issue, and last year a decision was delayed to give ministers more time to think it over.
The BBC said the additional runway would be part of a wider transport plan.


Updated : 2021-07-24 11:01 GMT+08:00