Go ahead for third Heathrow runway

GOVERNMENT ministers have confirmed their approval to build a third runway at Heathrow today. Transport secretary Geoff Hoon also announced an increased investment in public transport, including a new high-speed rail links from the airport.

Business and union figures have been supportive of the proposal for some time with the Future Heathrow Group saying the expansion is vital for the British economy’s long-term competiveness. Other major European airports have already expanded and are ready to take advantage when the market starts to recover.

The union Unite said Heathrow’s modernisation would not only safeguard jobs but create an additional 50,000 in construction and services.

Joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: “We sincerely believe that Heathrow’s modernisation is the only way to reduce aircraft emissions and cut disruption.”

However, local and environmental campaigners, as well as a substantial numbers of ministers and members of Parliament (MPs) are strongly against the plan. The debate this afternoon when Hoon announced the government’s decision was halted when local MP John McDonnell was thrown out after he grabbed the ceremonial mace and shouted “disgrace”.

Campaigners have already bought a piece of land that is expected to be at the heart of the construction project. They admit that the government could buy it without their consent under a compulsory purchase order but they have vowed to drag the fight out in the courts for as long as possible.

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