A special government committee has provided backing to build a third landing strip at the international airport in London, promising a boost in economic growth and an increase in jobs.
Plans to build a third $22 billion runway at Heathrow have been given the green light by the British government, ending 25 years of debate and indecision.
The runway is due to bring 77,000 additional local jobs over the next 14 years. The expansion will provide economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion.
"The government today announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow - the first full-length runway in the south-east since the Second World War," an official statement said after a cabinet meeting.
The decision was made unanimously by a government committee of senior ministers but does not have the requisite parliamentary approval to go into effect. This step would take up to a year to go into effect.
Business leaders have long expressed a need for a new runway, saying that London's five existing airports are failing to keep up with rising air travel demand, effectively representing a lost money-making opportunity.
Very pleased the government has made the right decision to support a new runway at Heathrow https://t.co/wn6bso4FuN @virginatlantic pic.twitter.com/JxKRTQeHAq— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) October 25, 2016
However, environmentalists are criticising the expansion as the existing system already breaches EU air pollution limits, and are threatening legal action.
In what some call a rare move, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and MP Justine Greening have been given permission from Prime Minister Theresa May to publicly voice their disagreement.