Heathrow 'favourite' to win battle for new runway

Heathrow 'favourite' to win battle for new runway

Ministers are determined to make a firm decision to approve a new runway in the southeast by the end of the year, with Heathrow expansion the clear favourite, it is being claimed.

The government is expected to demand a ban on a fourth runway and for stricter night flight limits than currently operate if the west London airport is allowed to expand.

The timing of the announcement by December will further fuel speculation that the government will opt for the west London airport, the Evening Standard reported.

A special Cabinet committee on airport expansion, chaired by David Cameron, is to meet for the first time within weeks.

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, overwhelmingly backed another runway at Heathrow in July over a second runway at rival Gatwick.

While no decision has yet been made, chancellor George Osborne (pictured) today hailed the airports panel as a “good example” of what needs to happen to build the infrastructure that Britain requires.

Championing a new national infrastructure commission, the chancellor said: “We have been talking about building a runway in the southeast for 50 or 60 years.

“We now have an independent report that has forced the choice on the government.”

He added that the government had to follow proper procedure for its decision to avoid judicial reviews delaying expansion, but he added: “Britain has really got to raise its game in getting these big projects underway.”

Stringent air quality and noise conditions could be placed on a third runway, with aviation minister Robert Goodwill stressing last night that “some people might put more emphasis on the environmental considerations than the commercial considerations which Sir Howard very clearly understood”.

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