The U.K. government on Oct. 25 approved a controversial $22-billion plan to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, 45 kilometers west of the city. The 3.5-km-long runway is to be built north of the airport, about 1 km from the existing northern landing strip. The House of Parliament is due to vote on the scheme next year, when detailed planning will begin. The project will occupy 569 hectares of land and require the nearby M25 London beltway to be diverted into a 14-lane tunnel.
“A new runway at Heathrow is really fantastic news,” says Paul Drechsler, president of the Confederation of British Industry, which represents 190,000 businesses. But Tony Arbour, chairman of the London Assembly, is appalled by the decision, which “will expose Londoners to higher levels of deadly air pollution, intolerable noise and overwhelming congestion.”