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Heathrow third runway will be built

Posted by Editor on 15th January 2009 at 12:23 PM
Heathrow third runway will be built

The 9 billion expansion of the west London airport will include a sixth terminal, MPs heard today

Concessions could come in the form of an announcement of improved rail links to Heathrow - Lord Adonis, the Railways Minister, is expected to announce that a 4.5 billion rail hub will be built.

There are also expected to be announcements addressing strict monitoring of Heathrow noise, pollution levels and plans to make more use of the two existing runways.

Some Cabinet ministers have demanded reassurances regarding the environmental safeguards. Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader and Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary all raised concerns.

But Mr Brown decided months ago that he wanted to proceed with the plans providing key conditions were met.

At Prime Minister's Questions Mr Brown infuriated MPs opposed to the plans by refusing to agree to a Commons vote on issue.

He said: "The Secretary of State is examining this matter, he will report to Parliament, there will be a debate about what he says in the questions that follow, and then, if I may say so, if the matter was accepted and a proposal was put by the Secretary of State, it would go to a planning inquiry."

Airlines, big business and some unions are in favour of expansion which will see a 2,200 metre-long third runway constructed by around 2019/20 to run parallel to and north of the existing runways.

The pro-expansion lobby argues that Heathrow is already full and that the economy of London and the whole of the UK will suffer unless there is expansion of the country's biggest airport.

At full capacity, an expanded Heathrow would become the biggest single source of CO2 emissions in the country. It would emit nearly 27 million tones of CO2 every year - equivalent to the emissions of 57 of the least polluting countries in the world combined.

Mr Hoon is likely to warn that expansion is vital in order to compete with other European "hub" airports like Amsterdam's Schipol and Paris' Charles de Gaulle.

Building the new runway will effectively destroy the village of Sipson and will increase the number of flights at Heathrow from around 480,000 a year to 700,000.

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