November 1, 2008

Report: Brown to Back Heathrow Expansion

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Cabinet allies are poised to approve a controversial new runway for Heathrow Airport in London, sources say.

Brown and Transport Minister Geoff Hoon have determined the new runway is vital to Britain's economic competitiveness and will sign off on the plan, perhaps as soon as December, despite opposition from environmentalists, the Conservative Party and even some Labor Party MPs, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said Brown and Hoon are heeding business interests who insist Heathrow needs to expand and have dismissed a Tory alternative plan to instead build a high-speed rail link from Heathrow to the north of England. They are also preparing to overrule persistent complaints about the environmental costs and increased noise opponents say a new runway will bring.

"The Tories are in the wrong place on this," an unnamed Labor Party official told the Telegraph. "Airport expansion is vital to Britain's interests and we understand that, which is why we believe Heathrow has to be expanded."