AS IT HAPPENED: Government backs third runway at Heathrow

Live updates and reaction as Government backs third runway at Heathrow

Councils disappointed with Heathrow Airport decision delay


You can read Chris Grayling's full statement to Parliament here.


Buckinghamshire County Council leader Martin Tett has welcomed the announcement.

He said: "This is good news for Buckinghamshire, the Thames Valley and for the UK economy,' he said. 'Heathrow is the country's premier international gateway and post-Brexit, it's even more important that we are strong players in the global economy. Today's decision confirms this.

"Nevertheless, our support has always been conditional upon large-scale mitigation of its impact, particularly for the towns and villages of south Buckinghamshire, and the Iver area in particular.

"We will be demanding that this mitigation is delivered in a timely fashion to protect our residents and businesses."


Zac Goldsmith (Con, Richmond Park): This project will almost certainly not be delivered.


Statement from Slough Borough Council:

Councillor Sohail Munawar, leader of Slough Borough Council, said: “We are extremely pleased with the government’s decision to support a third runway at Heathrow.

“Around 18,000 of our residents rely on Heathrow for a job and our proximity to the airport is one of the main reasons why we have the highest concentration of European and UK headquarters in the country.

“We believe expansion will not only secure the long-term prosperity of Slough but also that of the Thames Valley region and the UK.

“Given the huge benefits, we urge the government and Heathrow Airports Ltd to push forward with expansion as soon as possible.

“Meanwhile, we will continue to build on our close relationship with Heathrow to get the best possible mitigation package for the residents and businesses affected.”


G: We are very clear this expansion must include provision for links to the rest of the country.


G: We are close to completion of Crossrail, which will improve connectivity to Heathrow.


G: The airports around London still have capacity.


G: There will be a full and proper consultation.


Grayling now speaking.


M: The location of an additional runway cannot be the sum total of an aviation strategy.


M: What steps will be taken to meet our climate change targets?


M: It could be a decade before an additional runway is in operation but capacity challenges are here and now.


M: Essential that there is proper forensic examination and scrutiny.


M: There is no justification for dithering on this scale.


Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald criticises leak of the decision earlier today.


G: Sir Jeremy Sullivan to oversee consultation process.


Grayling denies the process has been slowed down or delayed.


G: The Government will take all necessary steps to ensure enhanced connectivity within the whole of the United Kingdom.


G: Expansion must be delivered without hitting passengers in the pocket.


G: Up to £2.6bn to be made available to support communities living nearby.


G: Even with expansion, fewer people will be affected by aircraft noise than today.


G: Although planes are getting quieter they still have an impact.


Grayling: We must make Heathrow a better neighbour.


Grayling: Gatwick remains a key part of our national transport picture.


Grayling: It brings the largest benefits to passengers and the wider economy.


Grayling: We believe the expansion of Heathrow airport will deliver the 'broadest possible benefit to the whole of the United Kingdom'.


Grayling speaking now.


Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is expected to make a statement about airport expansion in the Commons from 1.15pm. We will be bringing you live updates.


Shadow chancellor and Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell has issued his response:


The decision to expand has been backed by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It said the move will address the lack of airport capacity in the region and will support the economic growth of the country.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Chairman, Peter Read, commented, “The expansion of Heathrow is a positive signal from the Prime Minister that in the midst of Brexit uncertainty, the UK remains a strong hub of global connectivity. As the most productive sub-region in the country, Thames Valley Berkshire’s connectivity is crucial to this and to maintaining the UK’s competitive advantage. The LEP has made public its position of support for the expansion of Heathrow since 2012 and this has always been based on sound evidence. It is heartening to see that such a significant decision for the UK economy has finally been made on the basis of sound economic rationale.”


Royal Borough councillor and farmer Colin Rayner has tweeted his reaction:


Cllr Malcolm Beer (Old Windsor Residents Association, Old Windsor), who sat on the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee for 17 years, said: “It’s not surprising but it’s an appalling decision.

“It’s just not viable because there’s going to be nowhere for all these new workers to live.

“The cost of living will go through the roof.

“Berkshire won’t be able to cope and I doubt if any other neighbouring councils will be able to manage either.”


In a statement, Mr Taylor added:

""Heathrow expansion is a disastrous decision for the people of the South East, London, Britain, and the planet. Welcome to Theresa May's never-never land, where prime ministers never have to listen to scientists and never have to apologise for increasing CO2 emissions and air pollution levels. The Maidenhead MP has flip-flopped on her previous opposition to Heathrow and betrayed her constituents by kowtowing to the demands of multi-million-pound airport lobbies."


Green MEP Keith Taylor has been keen to point out Maidenhead MP and Prime Minister Theresa May's previous views on Heathrow expansion.


The chairman of the Royal Borough’s Aviation Forum described the decision as ‘catastrophic’.

Cllr John Bowden (Con, Clewer East) said he ‘wanted to remind people’ of measures which will have to be taken to build the third runway.

He said this includes the M25 having to go into an eight lane tunnel, the diversion of the M4 and A4, and the relocation of a detention centre and the BT Centre.

He added, “Who is going to fund all this? Not Heathrow.”

“A third runway is going to create more noise to Windsor, Eton, Maidenhead and Slough,” said Cllr Bowden.

“It is catastrophic and I dread the legacy that we are going to leave the future people in Windsor and Maidenhead.”

The decision will be discussed at the next meeting of the Aviation Forum at Windsor Guildhall on Tuesday, November 1.


UKIP's response includes a Brexit reference (obviously):


Strong words from the Lib Dems:


Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “FSB agrees with the Governments' clear decision on the third new runway for Heathrow, which will help to boost international trade and create jobs. This could create up to £211bn of extra economic growth, 180,000 jobs and double the apprenticeships at Heathrow to a total of 10,000. We now need to see budgets committed and shovels in the ground as soon as possible.

“We are also pleased to see the Government focus on the importance of new domestic routes to increase regional connectivity, including the six new regional routes. We we will be working with Government and Heathrow to ensure maximum regional connectivity to support small businesses throughout the UK.

“FSB is keen to ensure our members and small businesses can capitalise on the procurement opportunities that the expansion of Heathrow will provide. We will continue to work closely with Heathrow to guarantee small firms will play a major part in the huge £16bn procurement exercise to build the runway and associated works.

“At a time when FSB’s latest small business confidence index shows 62 per cent of small firms view the domestic economy as a barrier to growth, there is no better signal Britain is open for business than today's decision."


Back Heathrow’s Campaign Director, Rob Gray, said: "This is a significant moment for thousands of residents living near Heathrow who back expansion because they have waited a long time for today’s news.

"It's now or never. Building a new runway at Heathrow has plenty of cross-party support in Parliament and backing from the majority of international airlines, business groups, trade unions, exporters and communities surrounding the airport. This is a golden opportunity for the UK that must not be squandered."


It is worth remembering there are still a number of hurdles to clear before construction begins on a third runway.

Public and MPs will be consulted in the new year before a vote in the House of Commons.

A planning application will then be submitted, with the Planning Inspector advising the Government of his decision.

The Secretary of State for Transport will then make the final sign-off before construction starts.



Statement from Heathrow:

“We welcome the news that Heathrow is Government’s preferred site for a new runway and look forward to hearing the full details later from the Transport Secretary.

“Expansion of Heathrow is the only option that will connect all of 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.”


The Government claims the third runway will be worth £61bn to the wider economy over the next 60 years and will create 77,000 additional local jobs by 2030.


The Royal Borough has released a statement expressing its disappointment at the decision.

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “This is extremely disappointing news which will have a huge impact on the daily lives of our residents.

“Our residents will suffer a substantial loss of quality of life, with many impacts, including additional intolerable noise affecting more people, increased number of planes flying over head, worse air quality, increased traffic, and likely housing and infrastructure problems.

“We acknowledge the important role Heathrow holds for us, but from the start we have said we want to see a better not bigger airport and today’s decision flies in the face of the concerns relayed to us by our residents.

“Our campaign against Heathrow expansion with councils in Hillingdon, Richmond and Wandsworth and Greenpeace continues and we will take whatever action is necessary to stop this decision on behalf of the one million residents we represent.”

Cllr Lynne Jones, leader of the opposition, representing Old Windsor Residents' Association, said: “Our residents already have to deal with intolerable noise, congestion and pollution and today’s decision is only going to increase these issues.

“It is unacceptable that the quality of life for our residents will deteriorate and I am concerned about the effects expansion will bring. 

“We will continue to represent our residents fighting these plans.”


The announcement also states Heathrow Airport Ltd has made firm commitments to noise reduction and new legally binding noise targets are being proposed.

It said it will propose that a six-and-a-half hour ban on scheduled night flights is introduced, and the timing of this band will be determined through consultation.


The Government has said proposals to build a new runway will now be taken forward in the form of a draft 'national policy statement' (NPS) for consultation, which will be carried out in the new year.

It said the decision underlines its commitment 'to keeping the UK open for business now and in the future and as a hub for tourism and trade'.

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."



The Department for Transport has confirmed it is backing a third runway at Heathrow.


Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton, who lives under the flightpath in west London, has issued the following statement:

“Expanding Heathrow would be a hugely damaging blow for local people, and makes a complete mockery of government commitments to tackle climate change.

“Local communities now face more noise, more air pollution and more misery from a quarter of a million extra flights each year. 

“With the government poised to sign the Paris climate agreement, it’s decision to expand Heathrow – shortly after forcing fracking on the people of Lancashire – looks deeply cynical. 

“However this is only the first step on a long journey that will see communities, councils and climate campaigners continue the battle to reverse this misjudged and damaging decision.”


Two weeks ago, we asked you to vote in our poll on whether the Royal Borough should take legal action if Heathrow's expansion is approved.

Close to 5,000 votes were cast, with 63 per cent in favour of the legal challenge.


Another anti third runway campaign group, HACAN, said it was 'dismayed and distraught' by the news that the Government is expected to approve Heathrow's expansion.

HACAN chairman John Stewart said: “Countless residents will be dismayed and distraught by this decision.  Some will lose their homes.  Some face the daunting prospect of living under a noisy flight path for the first time.  And many others will get yet more planes over their heads.  But real doubts must remain whether this new runway will ever see the light of day.  The hurdles it faces remain: costs, noise, air pollution and widespread opposition including an expected legal challenge from the local authorities.”

Stewart added: “As expected, permission for a new runway has been made dependent on certain legal conditions being met.  HACAN will fight for the implementation of these measures whether we get a third runway or Heathrow ultimately remains a two runway airport.”


'See you in court' is the message from campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion.

Its statement reads as follows:

Stop Heathrow Expansion, a resident-led community group opposed to the third runway at Heathrow, said residents were once again left worried and blighted by the Government’s decision today to support expansion at the airport.

The villages of Harmondsworth and Longford will be flattened in order to become a runway, with thousands of people losing their homes. Many thought their homes and community was safe following the Government’s decision in 2010 to cancel the previous proposal for a third runway.

Robert Barnstone, Campaign Co-Ordinator, Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “Once again residents around Heathrow are fighting for their homes, schools, places of worship and community. The years of uncertainty that lie ahead while Heathrow is challenged in the courts brings yet more blight and worry to thousands of people.

Barnstone added: “The fight is only just beginning. Like last time, we will see the Government in court and see off this threat, this time for good."


This is what Slough Borough Council has to say:


Royal Borough council leader Simon Dudley appears to have already accepted that a decision has been made to approve Heathrow's expansion. Here is his video message to residents:


A decision on airport expansion in the UK is set to announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling this lunchtime.

Mr Grayling will reveal whether a third runway at Heathrow, an extension to one of its current runways or a second runway at Gatwick will be built in a speech at 12.30pm.

According to national reports, the decision is widely expected to be in favour of a third runway for Heathrow, with the BBC reporting it has been approved.

It follows years of debate and controversy over the proposals, with the environmental effect, pressure on infrastructure and impact on those living under proposed flight paths all coming under scrutiny.

The Royal Borough has set aside £50,000 to mount a legal challenge if Heathow's expansion is given the go-ahead, but Slough Borough Council has backed expansion.

We will be bringing you all the reaction from today's decision in our live blog.

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