Government expected to announce Heathrow expansion later today

Airport expansion - decision on Heathrow or Gatwick to be made today

Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport (Getty)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The long-awaited decision on which airport expansion scheme should get the go-ahead is to be made today - and various sources are reporting Heathrow has won the battle.

A number of outlets, including Sky and the BBC, report that the government has decided to expand Heathrow and will reveal this decision when it makes its formal announcement, expected to be around 12.30pm.

However nothing has been officially confirmed as yet.

Prime Minister Theresa May is chairing a meeting of the airport sub-committee made up of key Cabinet ministers this morning and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will make a statement to MPs once the meeting has concluded.

Mrs May has moved to placate any potential resignations from the cabinet by giving ministers freedom to speak out against the Government's decision, with Downing Street saying any wanting to voice their opposition would have to seek permission from the Prime Minister in advance.

Following the announcement, a public consultation will be held on the effects of airport expansion and then a final decision by the Government will be put to MPs for a vote in the winter of 2017/18.

Gatwick chairman Sir Roy McNulty issued a last-minute plea to the airport sub-committee, saying that allowing London to have "two world class airports" would send a powerful signal to the world that "Britain is truly open for business".

He claimed that the environmental impacts of expanding the airport would be "a fraction of those at Heathrow", adding: "Gatwick represents the best chance of something actually happening. It is the deliverable option."

Labour MP Mary Creagh has called for assurances from the Government that any new airport capacity will comply with environmental conditions.

She said: "We will be seeking assurances from the Government that the airport's proposals meet strict carbon emissions, air quality and noise standards.

"We have seen some international progress on tackling carbon emissions from aviation recently, but we need a clear plan to reduce emissions from aviation to meet our climate change targets."