Heathrow expansion backed by Airports commission

A third runway at Heathrow has been unanimously backed by the Airports commission despite its finding that extending the airport in west London would cause more damage to the environment than expanding Gatwick.

In its final report published today, the independent commission set up to consider airport expansion in the south east said that it unanimously supports Heathrow airport’s proposal for a new full-length runway to the northwest of the existing northern runway at Heathrow. 

It also considered an independent proposal by Heathrow Hub Ltd to extend the existing northern runway to the west, and a plan by Gatwick to build a second runway at the airport in West Sussex.

After examining the three proposals, the commission concluded that new runway at Heathrow would result in the greatest strategic and economic benefits, claiming it would provide access to around 40 new destinations and create more than 70,000 new jobs by 2050.

The commission, which was chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has not ruled out either of the other two options. However, it said the option to extend one of the existing runways at Heathrow would generate the same noise and air quality impacts as building a new runway but provide a smaller increase in capacity. Expansion at Gatwick, meanwhile, would mainly increase short-haul European routes and would not have such strong economic benefits. 

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