UK MPs approve Heathrow expansion

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed June 26, 2018 14:45

UK MPs approve Heathrow expansion

The UK House of Commons has voted to approve the expansion of Heathrow airport, the UK government won the vote by 415 to 119, a majority of 296 votes. the news was welcomed immediately by business groups and airlines.

Craig Kreeger, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said that the company firmly believes that Heathrow is the “right choice for expansion” since it is uniquely placed to support continued growth in UK trade and tourism  and sends “a strong signal to the world that we’re open for business”.

Kreeger also highlighted the need for increased slots at the airport to provide more competition on long-haul routes. “An expanded Heathrow must provide desperately needed, and long overdue airline competition to deliver more international destinations, lower fares and better connectivity to UK regions,” he said. “As we look to the future there are still a lot of important milestones and decisions ahead.  It’s important that Heathrow, the Government and airlines maintain the momentum to deliver an expansion which offers value for money for passengers, effective competition, and is mindful of the community.”

UK Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, will now officially adopt the National Policy Statement, which contains principles for the expansion. There are expected to be several layers of bureaucracy to clear before any work can comments – not least legal challenges from at least four councils in areas close to the site. Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead councils all plan to launch a judicial review. The councils have also received backing from Greenpeace, the local authority in Hammersmith & Fulham and Sadiq Khan, Labour mayor of London. The review process will be expedited and a decision is expected in October. If it fails, Heathrow will then launch its second public consultation, focusing on how it will deliver the scheme, in early 2019. The planning application, which can take up to 18 months,  is expected to be submitted in late 2019 or early 2020, which means the earliest start time is 2021.

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed June 26, 2018 14:45