British parliament agrees to expand controversial Heathrow airport

London: Politicians in Britain’s House of Commons supported plans to expand the controversial Heathrow Airport by 415 votes to 119.

The decision has long divided the parliament, however, the British MPs backed a third runway at Heathrow.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling stated that this 19-billion US dollar Heathrow expansion as Britain’s biggest transport decision in a generation, Xinhua reported.

The planned third runway will be built at no cost to taxpayers, with the expansion scheme funded by the private sector, Grayling said, adding, it will create a massive economic boost to Britain. It will generate 100,000 new jobs, doubled freight capacity and benefits worth around 100 billion dollars to passengers, he further added.

“This is a momentous vote that has been 50 years in the making and represents the biggest transport decision in a generation. Successive governments have wrestled with the issue of Heathrow expansion but never before has parliament held a vote on this project. At stake are thousands of new jobs and the country’s ability to compete on an international stage and win new global trade,” Xinhua quoted Grayling as saying.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan opposed the idea of expanding the airport and called the result a wrong decision.

“Tonight’s vote in favour of a third runway at #Heathrow is the wrong decision for Londoners. But it’s the not the end – as Mayor, I’m joining the legal action brought by local authorities in opposition to Heathrow expansion,” Sadiq Khan tweeted.

The vote followed a government decision on June 5 to officially support the expansion of Heathrow through a third runway, put forward in a proposed Airports National Policy Statement (NPS).

Prior to the vote, around a dozen demonstrators lay on the floor of the central lobby in the country’s House of Commons. They chanted and sang songs, before exiting the area.

Greenpeace earlier said it is going to bring a legal challenge against the third runway.

Last week, government cabinet minister Greg Hands resigned because of the same issue, saying he wanted to fulfill a pledge he made to his constituents to oppose the Heathrow plan. (ANI)