Henley MP absent from vote on Heathrow expansion

Positive outcome Chris Morrow

Positive outcome Chris Morrow

The chief executive of Heathrow has been quick to downplay the impact judicial reviews will have on the airport's expansion plans and says MPs giving the green light to a third runway shows "Britain is open for business".

He could have been forced to quit the government if he had voted against the plans and was mocked by fellow MPs for failing to appear.

As reported by Runway Girl Network in 2016, Heathrow expansion has been a political hot potato for decades, with neither of the country's main political parties taking a reliably consistent stance.

While Transport Minister Chris Grayling said the expansion was needed because all London's main airports would be full by the mid-2030s, and they were already seeing "business leave the United Kingdom and go to airports like Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris", Labour's transport spokesperson Andy McDonald warned the project risked making "losers of many", pointing to the potential environmental, congestion and noise repercussions, and the decision to hold the vote before a report by the government's own advisory body on climate change on the impact of aviation emissions.

Whilst the council has been opposed to a bigger Heathrow, either by additional flights, addition of a third runway or a relaxation on runway operations and night flights, we nevertheless want the airport to be successful as it plays such a huge role in our economic success.

Greenpeace earlier said it is going to bring a legal challenge against the third runway. "Respite and other protections are critical for their quality of life".

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, the only major party to formally oppose the third-runway plan, echoed IAG's concerns about fees, describing Heathrow as "an exceedingly dodgy company" that pays more than it earns in dividends and exploits monopoly holdings in areas such as auto parks while doubling its debt and running down shareholder funds.

The Labour MP for Brentford & Isleworth, Ruth Cadbury voted against the third runway plan.

Union leaders broke rank with the Labour party to express support for the expansion programme, while one Conservative cabinet member, Trade Minister Greg Hands, resigned from the front bench in order to be able to vote against it.

Mr Howell has received repeated complaints from residents about the noise from planes circling over Henley when coming into land at Heathrow during easterly winds. Pro-expansion group Back Heathrow has welcomed the decision.

Matt Rodda, who represents Reading East, voted against.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO at Heathrow, said, "Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead".

"While I believe in a better Heathrow, I do not believe a bigger Heathrow is the right answer for London and I remain committed to opposing such a short-sighted decision". The project will cost an estimated £14 billion and enter service in 2026. "Local businesses, particularly smaller to medium sized enterprises, are also set to benefit from up to 40 new long-haul trading links and double the cargo capacity at an expanded Heathrow".

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