The UK government has approved the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
The decision was reached today by ministers and will now take a form of a draft ‘National policy statement’ (NPS) for consultation in 2017.
According to a government statement, the new runway will bring up to £61bn in economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy. It will also deliver six new regional routes.
The project will also include a package of over £700M for noise insulation of residential properties, to be provided by the airport.
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.
“A new runway at Heathrow will improve connectivity in the UK itself and crucially boost our connections with the rest of the world, supporting exports, trade and job opportunities. 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.
“This is an important issue for the whole country. That is why the government’s preferred scheme will be subject to full and fair public consultation. Of course it is also hugely important for those living near the airport. That is why 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 £2.6 billion, including community support, insulation, and respite from noise – balancing the benefits and the impacts of expansion.”
Heathrow Airport welcomed the decision. A spokesperson from the airport said: "Expansion of Heathrow is the only option that will connect all the UK to global growth, helping to build a stronger and fairer economy.
"We await the full details, but Heathrow stands ready to work with Government, businesses, airlines and our local communities to deliver an airport that is fair, affordable and secures the benefits of expansion for the whole of the UK."
Up to 77,000 local jobs and 5,000 new apprenticeships are expected to be created over the next 14 years.
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