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Council backs airport expansion

by Marco Cillario Fri 28 October 2016, 12:39 pm

Harrow Council's leader has expressed support for the expansion of Heathrow airport.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling announced on 25 October that the government was giving the green light to building a third runway at the airport in west London. The decision will now be voted on by parliament in 2017 or 2018.

Councillor Sachin Shah, leader of Harrow Council, reacted to the news by saying the expansion would “bring even more jobs and growth to our borough, improve our status as a global hub for trade and travel, and bring huge benefits for small businesses too”.

Under the airport’s proposed scheme, an additional runway with a 600m tunnel for the M25 and a sixth terminal will be built at a cost of around £17 billion.

A draft national policy statement will now be produced on the scheme and public consultation on the impact of the expansion will be held next year.

Shah continued: “I’ve supported Heathrow’s expansion from the very beginning. Harrow is the best borough in London for small businesses, and everyone from our construction companies to our caterers will benefit from the expansion.”

The government’s announcement is likely to face protests and possibly legal challenges by environmental groups and London boroughs, with mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, saying a new runway for Heathrow would be “devastating for air quality" across the capital.

“I will continue to challenge this decision and I am exploring how I can best be involved in any legal process over the coming months," the mayor added.

But many British companies stood by the government’s approval. Paul Drechsler CBE, president of UK-wide business organisation CBI, said the green light came as “an enormous relief to firms in every corner of the country”.

“A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news, especially as the country has waited nearly 50 years for this decision,” he continued. “It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focused firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets.

“Pressing ahead with key infrastructure projects like this will provide not only a welcome economic stimulus, but will show the world that we are well and truly open for business as we negotiate our exit from the EU.”

If the parliament grants approval, the third runway should open by 2025.

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