UK government backs Heathrow expansion

The UK’s Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly has outlined plans for a third runway and possible sixth terminal at London’s Heathrow Airport.The plans will face opposition from a number of sources including local authorities, MPs and “direct action activists”.

Expansion at Heathrow will also have to comply with mandatory EU air quality limit values that will apply from 2010.

The proposed expansion would see flights increase from 480,000 a year to 800,000 with the intention of boosting the UK economy.

BAA suggests it could be worth £9bn a year to the national economy. The airport operator is still reeling from a government report which indicated that Heathrow Airport has one of the lowest satisfaction scores for departure lounge crowding, check-in and getting around the airport.

The UK government has previously said that Heathrow was very important for the economy but that growth would only be allowed to happen if there was no more overall noise, if air quality could be improved, and if there were improvements to public transport.

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According to BAA, “The Department for Transport has now published the results of its environmental assessment showing that those limits can be met.”
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