At 7pm on Friday 11th December the Government announced that it is delaying any final decision on new runways until at least the middle of next year. It wants to do further work in assessing particularly the environmental impacts of a 3rd runway at Heathrow, the Heathrow Hub proposal for an extended runway and a 2nd runway at Gatwick.
The full Government statement is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-support-for-airport-expansion-in-the-south-east
This delay shows once again just how difficult it will be to build a third runway at Heathrow. The last Labour Government tried and failed. And now this Government has run into real obstacles. Heathrow would require almost 1,000 homes to be demolished and part of the M25 to be moved and put in a tunnel. It would mean a quarter of a million more planes flying over the city with the biggest aircraft noise problem in Europe and could cause air pollution to exceed the EU legal limits. Many of these problems won’t go away however long the final decision is delayed. The Government should face up to the reality that a third runway is unlikely ever to see the light of day. Although there are party political reasons for this delay, these should not obscure the fact that the real problem with a third runway is its impact on the area London and its people.