The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has given the go-ahead for Heathrow’s third runway.
Announced in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Grayling confirmed the government’s backing for the controversial plan following years of delays and protests.
“Today I’m laying before parliament our final proposal for an airports national policy statement which signals our commitment to securing global connectivity, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships, and boosting our economy for future generations by expanding Heathrow airport,” said Grayling.
The transport secretary also announced £2.6 billion in compensation for local residents.
The airport’s third runway will be completed by 2026 and will be privately funded, costing an estimated £14 billion.
“The time for action is now. Heathrow is already full and the evidence shows the remaining London airports won’t be far behind. Despite being the busiest two runways in the world, Heathrow’s capacity constraints mean it is falling behind its global competitors, impacting the UK’s economy and global trading opportunities,” Grayling told MPs.
The decision is likely to spark protest from environmental groups, who believe the third runway will be damaging to the environment and cost taxpayers billions of pounds.
Grayling said the reasons behind his decision were the benefits the runway would bring for the rest of the UK through regional connectivity.
The shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said that Labour would only back the controversial plans if it would pass tests on capacity, noise and air quality, climate change and economic growth.
“We owe it to future generations to get all of these factors absolutely right, but if the correct balance isn’t found then the law courts will quite rightly intervene,” he said on Tuesday in the House of Commons. “We will not rely on the assurances of the secretary of state for transport, whose assurances are sadly not worth the Hansard they are printed on.”