- Title: UK set to announce long-awaited airport decision
- Date: 24th October 2016
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - DECEMBER 7, 2015) (REUTERS) PLANE TAKING OFF AT HEATHROW AIRPORT BRITISH AIRWAYS PLANE TAXI-ING ON RUNWAY PLANE TAKING OFF PLANE SPEEDING ALONG RUNWAY PLANE TAKING OFF "NO THIRD RUNWAY" PLACARD ON GATES OF SQUAT CAMP (GROW HEATHROW) "GROW HEATHROW" HAND PAINTED SIGN ON GATE TO SQUAT CAMP CAMP ACTIVIST RESIDENTS JOHN MCPHILIPS AND MAEVE MORGAN WALKING TO UNLOCK GATE GATE BEING UNLOCKED MCPHILIPS AND MORGAN WALKING THROUGH OPEN GATE HANDPAINTED ANTI-AIRPORT EXPANSION PICTURE ON GATE TO PROTEST CAMP "STOP HEATHROW EXPANSION" SIGN ON LAMPOST IN VILLAGE OF HARMONDSWORTH, WHERE PLANES FLY OVERHEAD RESIDENTIAL STREET WITH PLANE FLYING OVER HOUSES (THIS ROAD IS WHERE THE PERIMETER FENCE FOR THE THIRD RUNWAY WOULD BE PLACED) ARRIVALS AT HEATHROW VARIOUS OF ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURE BOARDS VARIOUS OF PASSENGERS IN TERMINAL VARIOUS OF PLANES TAXIING ON RUNWAY PLANES FLYING WHILE PLANE TAXIS PLANE LANDING AT HEATHROW PLANE FLYING
- Embargoed: 8th November 2016 15:36
- Keywords: Heathrow airport third runway Gatwick airport airport expansion
- Location: LONDON AND GATWICK, ENGLAND, UK
- City: LONDON AND GATWICK, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA00155D75FR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Prime Minister Theresa May is set to end decades of indecision on Tuesday (October 25) by announcing a choice between expanding Heathrow, to the west of London, or Gatwick, to the south - making a decision on airport expansion after more than 25 years of debate.
In 2015, a three-year independent inquiry set up by the government recommended that option, subject to a list of conditions over night flights, noise and air quality.
Last week May took the rare step of promising colleagues who oppose the decision that they would be allowed to publicly air their views, interpreted by the media as a strong signal it would be Heathrow as there are no high profile ministers who oppose Gatwick expansion.
The airports decision will be one of May's biggest moves since she became prime minister in July, and would contrast with the delaying tactics of her predecessor, who failed to act after having withdrawn a previous government's approval to expand Heathrow in 2010.
Transport Minister Chris Grayling will make a statement to parliament about the expansion at 1130 GMT on Tuesday.
Both airports are running at close to full capacity and big business argues that Britain needs a new runway to build trade ties and better compete with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
While there are three options on the table - a new runway at Heathrow, lengthening one of its existing two runways, or a new runway at Gatwick - the government has indicated it will opt for a new Heathrow runway - the more ambitious and expensive option.
Key opponents of Heathrow expansion such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said last year it would not solve capacity issues and the scheme was doomed to fail, will not be present.
The decision will be subject to public consultation before it is put to a vote in parliament in late 2017 or early 2018. Surveys show a majority of lawmakers back Heathrow expansion.
Five local councils around Heathrow including Maidenhead, the area May represents, have hired a law firm to fight Heathrow expansion.
Other opposition groups have also said they are likely to consider legal action against a new runway there.
Costing either $17 billion for the runway extension or $22 billion for the additional third runway, Heathrow would be the more expensive project and face legal challenges over its environmental impact on densely populated west London. But its established trade links with emerging markets strengthen its case in the wake of the Brexit vote. It also has the backing of the major airlines.
Gatwick, the country's no. 2 airport that mostly connects to Europe, argues it can build a runway more quickly and, at $9 billion, more cheaply, and that its rural position means it would disturb fewer people.
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