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The Government have officially announced that the third runway at Heathrow is to be built.

It is expected that new limits on emissions will be announced and only newer more environmentally friendly aircraft will be allow to use the runway

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon announced increased investment in public transport, including a new high-speed rail link from the airport to central London.

BAA's Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, has welcomed the news. He said, "This decision opens the door to Heathrow becoming a truly world class hub airport, and to the UK maintaining the direct connections to the rest of the world on which our prosperity depends."

He promised to work with the local community as much as possible during the planning process.

The Conservatives have pledged to reverse the decision if they win the next election.

Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said Gordon Brown was "deaf to the concerns of his own party and millions of people living under the flight path". The Prime Minister has refused to guarantee that MPs will get to vote on the decision.

About 700 homes will have to be demolished to make way for the runway, which will increase the number of flights using Heathrow from about 480,000 a year now to 702,000 by 2030.

Earlier this week an alliance of celebrities, politicians, scientists and Greenpeace bought a plot of land earmarked for the third runway in the hope of stalling the Government's expansion plans.

Local resident and one of the land's high profile owners Alistair McGowan said, "Now that we own it, we'll never sell it to them [BAA] and we're confident that we'll be joined by people from all over the world who will help us defend it.


January 15, 2009