LONDON — Members of Parliament (MP) in the British Houses of Commons have approved what has been seen as very controversial plans to back the third runway at London-Heathrow Airport (LHR). This vote comes following 20 years of debate, failed votes and significant opposition.
MPs backed the vote by 415 votes to 119, offering a solid majority of 296 MPs in total.
There were members of parliament that abstained from the vote in protest but has evidently largened the majority in favor for the expansion.
The UK CBI has welcomed this news as “a truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships”, with those opposite such as Friends of the Earth saying, “MPs who backed this climate-wrecking new runway will be harshly judged by history. The evidence on the accelerating climate crisis, which is already hitting the world’s most vulnerable people, is overwhelming – and expanding Heathrow will only intensify the misery.”
Heathrow’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye, commented on this milestone for the airport, “Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead. This vote will see us deliver more jobs, create a lasting legacy of skills for future generations and guarantee expansion is delivered responsibly. We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best-connected hub airport in the world.”
The UK’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, also commented on the vote that took place last night saying. “This marks a critical step towards ensuring future generations have the international connections we need, as well as strengthening the links between all parts of the UK and our global hub.”
House of Commons votes 415 to 119 to approve the National Policy Statement on new runway capacity infrastructure at airports in the South East of England.
MPs have approved plans to build a third runway at Heathrow. #HeathrowExpansion
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) June 25, 2018
“I have always been clear that this issue goes beyond party politics and this result demonstrates the clear desire to get on with delivering this vital scheme. There is still much to be done, including defending this decision against potential legal challenges, but we are absolutely committed to working closely with local communities and ensuring Heathrow stick to their promises on addressing the local and environmental impacts of expansion,” he added.
Not Enough Opposition
This vote did not come without a bit of external opposition. Environmental activists earlier yesterday staged a “lie-in” over Heathrow at the Parliament central lobby, which is not far from where the voting is conducted. Police locked down the area during the vote as 12 protesters from the Vote No Heathrow campaign sprawled across the floor chanting.
The government has emphasized that this expansion will be built at no cost to the taxpayer and will create up to 100,000 jobs and will also benefit the entire country, through guaranteed internal flights to the rest of the UK.
Urgent! On Monday, Parliament will vote on plans for a climate-wrecking third runway at #Heathrow Airport. For these 5 reasons (and many more), please tweet your MP to vote #NoThirdRunway: https://t.co/fzKlL1y8yr RT pic.twitter.com/VmZ9L6SJ9U
— Friends of the Earth 🐝 (@friends_earth) June 24, 2018
Minister’s also said that the project will have built-in environmental protections such as the ability to fine Heathrow or ground aircraft if promises on night flights and other issues are broken respectively.
We have also seen resignations as a result of this vote, with former International Trade Minister Greg Hands resigning over concerns about the expansion regarding air quality and night flights but said it was a “debate about being true to your word and to your election pledges”.
Overall, from what has been a very dramatic 20 years, has finally seen some level of success for the UK Aerospace industry.
On the political front, this will be good news for Theresa May’s government following the news from Airbus earlier last week saying they are considering their investments, potentially affecting 14,000 jobs.
It will be a good distraction for the government as they continue to press on with the expansion.