On Tuesday, the government announced its approval of a third runway at Heathrow to expand the UK’s airport capacity. The move comes six years after the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition scrapped plans for the same thing. Parliament will vote on the matter in 2017 or 2018.
Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, has said he is “truly proud that after years of discussion and delay” this “momentous” decision has been taken. But there is fierce opposition to it—including on the government’s benches. Boris Johnson has said it is “undeliverable,” while former London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith is to resign over the issue.
Widespread protests are expected to follow from locals: 10,000 homes may be flattened, and the nearby village of Harmondsworth is to be demolished. Climate change campaigners are likely to mount vocal opposition, too, given concerns about the runway’s impact on Britain’s emissions targets.
Who’s right? Is the business case simply too strong to ignore, or would expansion of Gatwick be the better choice? Do we really need more airport capacity at all? Experts share their thoughts.