THE CONTROVERSIAL bid to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport has been approved by the government in principle this morning , it is understood.

The long-awaited announcement is yet to be confirmed, but early reports indicate Heathrow does have the backing of ministers. It will now go to public consultation for a year.

The decision is being praised by some, while furious protesters have already locked arms outside of Parliament, forming a mock runway-style barricade against the airport's proposals.

James Silver, development director at Berkshire based property developers Landid, was quick to react to the news.

He said: "With significant investments in Reading, Slough, Uxbridge and Hammersmith, we are delighted to hear that Heathrow will gain a new runway.

"The Western Corridor is one of the most uniquely connected regions of the country – with Heathrow, the Western Rail Link and, the forthcoming Elizabeth Line – and this decision reinforces that as a priority.

"Large infrastructure additions and improvements almost always lead to a demand for more amenities and vibrant redevelopment in nearby areas, which often mean greater access and opportunities for growing companies in the region, and those attracted by its many benefits.

"Among the new runway’s greatest effects, experts estimate that with this decision an £211B in economic benefits that could be pumped into the UK thanks to increased travel, tourism and jobs (up to 180,000).”

Shona Kealey, speaking on behalf of the Plane Stupid group, slammed the government's reported decision.

She said: “Two weeks ago, enough countries agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement for it to come into force. Last week, the government’s climate advisers issued a report saying reducing aviation emissions should be a priority if we’re going to honour the Climate Change Act.

“With today’s announcement, our government proclaims to the world that we’re a dishonest and unreliable nation who can’t be trusted to keep to our international agreements or even follow our own laws, just as we’re about to renegotiate trade agreements with the whole world."

It is anticipated that more protests and legal challenges will follow the controversial decision, and campaigners are expected to focus on air quality and Britain's climate change commitment.

The third runway, which could be up and running by 2025, could lead to around 50 per cent more planes flying over the capital.

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More to follow.