A third runway at Heathrow Airport has been given the go-ahead by the Cabinet, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced.
The divisive project was approved at a meeting of ministers on the Cabinet’s economic sub-committee.
MPs will be given a vote on the scheme by early July.
Mr Grayling told the Commons: “Today I am laying before Parliament our final proposal for an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) which signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow Airport.”
He added: “My department has met with local residents and fully understands their strength of feeling, but this is a decision taken in the national interest and based on detailed evidence.”
Mr Grayling told MPs: “The time for action is now. Heathrow is already full and the evidence shows the remaining London airports won’t be far behind. Despite being the busiest two-runway airport in the world, Heathrow’s capacity constraints means that it is falling behind its global competitors, impacting the UK’s economy and global trading opportunities.
“Expansion at Heathrow will bring real benefits across the country including a boost of up to £74 billion to passengers and the wider economy. This is a project with benefits which reach far beyond London.”
Mr Grayling acknowledged the concerns of people living around the airport, but said there was a £2.6 billion package for local communities towards the costs of compensation, noise insulation and improvements to public amenities.
He said the scheme – including £700 million for noise insulation for homes and £40 million to insulate schools and community buildings – was comparable “with some of the most generous in the world”.
He said that he also expected to see for the first time a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights, and would be encouraging Heathrow and airlines to work with local communities to propose longer periods of respite during a further consultation on night flight restrictions.
“I hope the House will be ready to work together – acting on an issue that is in our shared national interest – in order to create a positive legacy for the future. I hope members will get behind it,” he said.
Pic by Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire