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Controversial Heathrow Runway Approved

A controversial new runway and expansion at Heathrow Airport (LHR) has finally won approval from the UK Cabinet after 20 years in discussion, though some locals, activist groups, and some members of the government hotly contest the new plans due to damage to the environment and nearby neighborhoods.

After nearly 20 years of debate, the UK Cabinet has finally approved a controversial expansion and new runway for Heathrow International Airport – for the second time. It was first approved in 2009 but then put on hold when the government changed in 2010. But now the plan is back and approved again.

The expansion is expected to cost about $18.8 billion and will be completed in 2026. It is expected to be funded privately, but members of parliament note that taxpayers may end up paying for road improvements needed and other upgrades required for the expansion.

Members of parliament are expected to vote on the expansion on July 11, but the prospect is still heavily debated. An increase in area traffic will threaten carbon emissions targets in the UK and surpass limits on air pollution and noise pollution. Hundred of homes will need to be knocked down.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC that $3.5 billion will go toward compensating local residents and covering noise abatement plans. He also said the runway and expansion would not move forward unless it meets all air quality standards.

Legal challenges to the decision may already be popping up, though. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the BBC that he will “lie down in front of bulldozers” in order to prevent the expansion from happening.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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