The winners and losers of Heathrow expansion

Rebecca Smith
Both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan opposed Heathrow expansion
Both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan opposed Heathrow expansion (Source: Getty)

The airport expansion decision has finally been made, with Heathrow getting the go-ahead after numerous delays.

And while many have welcomed the announcement, others haven't been quite so supportive. Here are some of the biggest winners and losers of the government's decision.


Heathrow (obviously)

It's been a tense wait for the airports involved, with plenty of back-and-forth digs. So, Heathrow finally getting the green light was welcome news for the airport. A spokesperson utilised the opportunity to crow that: "Expansion of Heathrow is the only option that will connect all of the UK to global growth, helping to build a stronger and fairer economy."


Firms across the UK have wanted a decision for a while now and criticised the government for delays to the announcement on numerous occasions. In June, over 50 business leaders called for an "urgent" decision.

Most reacted positively to the plans for Heathrow expansion - predominantly relieved a decision had been made at all. Some though, did stress the need for more expansion elsewhere.

Sir Howard Davies

As chair of the Airports Commission report which recommended Heathrow last year, Davies has had to wait a while for his advice to be taken. Aware of the opposition, Davies said last week he was "nervous about a situation which says we can't do something because people will protest". While MPs won't vote on the airport decision for another year, it's a step forward for Davies' wish to see Heathrow's expansion go ahead.


And other firms nearby to Heathrow...

The transport select committee

Chair Louise Ellman welcomed the announcement "after decades of dithering".

The committee has published several reports referencing airport expansion and has long felt Heathrow was the strongest proposal. Noting there would inevitably be opposition, Ellman added: "We recognise it won't be an easy journey and the government faces significant challenges. Guarantees will need to be met on noise and pollution. We urge the government to have the courage of their convictions and press ahead so that the timetable to deliver the additional capacity by 2030 can be delivered."


Gatwick (obviously)

For now, Heathrow's rival misses out, though many have said greater airport expansion will inevitably be needed in the near future. Still, it's disappointing for the airport, which expects to run out of space in the next few years.

Zac Goldsmith

Having previously threatened to resign should Heathrow get the go-ahead, Goldsmith will prove he's a man of his word and resign today. While transport secretary Chris Grayling hailed the expansion as "truly momentous", Goldsmith deemed it "catastrophic". He will meet constituents later today before making a statement.

Sadiq Khan

Something he and his former Mayoral rival for have in common. The London Mayor has been a vocal supporter of Gatwick getting a second runway and didn't mince his words in his reaction to the decision.

"This is the wrong decision for London and the whole of Britain," he said. "The government are running roughshod over Londoners' views – just five months ago I was elected as Mayor on a clear platform of opposing a new runway at Heathrow, a position that was shared by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green and UKIP candidates in that election."

Khan isn't going down without a fight and confirmed he will be exploring how he can best be involved in any legal process over the coming months.

London Assembly

Opposed to Heathrow expansion since 2005, the London Assembly wasn't best pleased with the government's news.

Tony Arbour AM, chairman of the London Assembly said: "We are appalled that the government has decided to give the green light to expansion at Heathrow, despite the vast body of evidence to indicate this will expose Londoners to higher levels of deadly air pollution, intolerable noise and overwhelming congestion."

The London Assembly hasn't been convinced the government has provided enough clarity on whether investment on public transport will be delivered either.

Heathrow expansion: What you need to know

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