UK Cabinet expected to approve Heathrow expansion

June 05, 2018 - 4:02 am

LONDON (AP) — The British Cabinet is expected Tuesday to approve the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport, a decision that could pave the way for the long-running issue to be put up for a parliamentary vote.

The economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, told the BBC, "we need to expand our capacity and this is the right thing to do."

The location of a new runway in southeastern England has been debated for years amid concerns over pollution, traffic and noise.

The Department for Transportation last year asked the public for comments on the plans to build the runway at Heathrow, arguing the project would permit an additional 260,000 flights a year and add 74 billion pounds ($99 billion) to the British economy over 60 years.

Heathrow is already one of the world's largest airports, but the decision on whether to expand it has been a source of contention, particularly in Prime Minister Theresa May's government.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, whose constituency is heavily affected by the noise and pollution, once promised to lie down in front of bulldozers rather than allow the airport to expand.

Should lawmakers approve the decision, it is likely to be challenged in the courts.

John Stewart, the chairman of the anti-Heathrow expansion group, Hacan, described the vote as a bad day for residents.

"Many communities will face a tsunami of noise if a third runway goes ahead," he said. "Many people who will be under new flights paths will find their lives changed forever."

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