This is Britain, so nothing goes smoothly. Parliament by a very substantial majority of 415 to 119 voted to approve the third runway. It’s the first in the south of England since World War 2.
The irony is that Brexit probably was the one of the most influencing aspects. Having cut itself off from Europe, the realisation a new runway is one way to help keep ahead of Amsterdam and Frankfurt and maintain London and the U.K. as a key transport hub, wasn’t lost on most MP’s.
However it isn’t over yet. Arguments over the noise and pollution zones and who is and isn’t affected may be subject to judicial review – and not just one. Anti-runway campaigners include some of London’s richest neighbourhoods and British NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard, but it’s alright if it’s in yours), is as rampant as ever.
The project is vast. The 3rd Runway will in effect swallow up most of British Airways head office grounds, and require a vast new re-routing of the massive London Orbital Motorway, the M25. This will have to be moved (it’s around 12 lanes at this point) and put under the new runway, while remaining 100% operational.
There are two new terminals to build, one a vast extension to the back of what’s currently known as Terminal 5 but will become Heathrow West. Terminal six as it’s known for now, will cater for the low cost element on the new runway.
Terminal 4 will be converted to cargo only and Terminal 3 will be demolished and rebuilt into Heathrow East – currently Terminal 2. Terminal 1 has already been demolished and the site is being added to Terminal 2.
There has been one caveat to all of this: it’s being incorporated into law that there will never be a fourth runway at Heathrow.