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Heathrow expansion moves closer to vote

The NIC has said the government needs to make 'urgent' decisions on several major infrastructure projects, including a third runway at Heathrow

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been approved by cabinet ministers, meaning MPs will be asked to vote on the issue in the coming weeks.

According to the BBC, the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) was on the agenda for a meeting between prime minister Theresa May and ministers today. It has now been approved by her full cabinet.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling will ask MPs to vote on the issue in the coming weeks – potentially even immediately, according to BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

The controversial plan has been in limbo for years, with campaigners claiming the third runway could breach the UK’s legal pollution limits and increase noise pollution for communities surrounding the airport.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who is the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip – both of which stand to be affected by the increased air traffic – is staunchly opposed to the project.

An inquiry into expanding the UK’s airport capacity found a third runway at Heathrow was the most viable option, but the plan has been changed multiple times after public consultations forced changes to address key concerns. The current plan is estimated to cost around £14 billion.

One of the main points of tension for some MPs such as Johnson remains the impact on local families, with homes in the path of the new runway facing demolition.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some politicians and business leaders believe increasing the UK’s capacity sooner rather than later is vital for ensuring the country can compete on a global economic scale after Brexit.

If the plans are approved in Parliament, the third runway could be operational between 2025 and 2030.

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