Cleared for take-off: Parliament unlocks local jobs and growth in vote to expand Heathrow

  • 415 MPs across political parties united to unequivocally back expanding Heathrow – ending decades of political debate and uncertainty for local communities
  • Approval unlocks billions in growth, secures up to 40,000 new jobs and will ensure Heathrow expands sustainably with a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights and a triple lock guarantee to meet air quality obligations
  • Following years of local community engagement to shape plans for an expanded airport, Heathrow will now prepare an application for Development Consent
  • Within the next 12 months alone, Heathrow will sign £150m in contracts with British businesses, creating 900 new jobs and 200 new local apprenticeships
  • Heathrow’s independent Skills Taskforce Chaired by Lord Blunkett, ready to maximise the employment benefits of expansion providing opportunities for young people to fulfil their potential


In a landmark vote today, Parliament unambiguously backed expanding Heathrow – ending decades of political debate and local uncertainty over one of the UK’s most pressing infrastructure issues. Following years of close engagement and consultation with local communities to help shape plans for expansion, MPs from across political parties joined forces to support the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement. The vote clears the way for Heathrow to submit a planning application for the project – unlocking billions of pounds in growth, exporting opportunities and tens of thousands of new skilled jobs for local communities.

Today’s decision secures a £14bn private investment for the UK – one of the largest private projects in Europe – that will have major benefits for the local economy, stimulating growth and inward investment opportunities. Local businesses, particularly smaller to medium-sized enterprises, are also set to benefit from up to 40 new long-haul trading links and double the cargo capacity at an expanded Heathrow.

Over the next 12 months alone, the airport will sign £150 million worth of contracts with British businesses, creating 900 new jobs and 200 new local apprenticeships. In his position as Chair of the Heathrow Skills Taskforce, Lord Blunkett will coordinate members to develop the talent needed today and arm a generation with the skills it needs for the future.

In addition to the tens of thousands of new jobs the project will create locally, Heathrow has taken steps to ensure expansion does not force a choice between the economy and the local environment. Heathrow has made binding commitments to deliver a £2.6bn compensation package to residents, implement a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights and a triple lock guarantee to meet air quality obligations.

Parliament’s historic vote is the culmination of a rigorous, evidence-based analysis – including review by the independent Airports Commission and the Government. It has determined that expanding Heathrow offers the greatest benefit to all of the UK and can be done sustainably. Over the past six years, Heathrow has regularly consulted local communities to design an expansion plan that treats those that stand to be most impacted fairly. Heathrow will release detailed plans over the coming months to deliver a skills strategy so local residents can benefit from tens of thousands of new skilled jobs that an expanded Heathrow requires – an opportunity that has the potential to end youth unemployment in local boroughs.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:

“Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead. This vote will see us deliver more jobs, create a lasting legacy of skills for future generations and guarantee expansion is delivered responsibility. We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best connected hub airport in the world.”

The newly established Heathrow Community Engagement Board will play an important role in building and maintaining trust between the airport and its communities making sure that Heathrow delivers its commitments today and in the future. In particular, it will ensure that communities are meaningfully engaged in the process over the coming months and years.

Andrew Dakers, CEO of West London Business, said:

“This vote marks an important milestone for West London, and a confident signal to the world.

“In the next few months we look forward to working with Heathrow to support its expansion proposals to ensure the connectivity and jobs benefits stemming from expansion benefit West London. As the country’s biggest airport by value, and the biggest port, expanding Heathrow will offer more of our small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to export around the globe, while also making it easier for people to visit the country from London and abroad.

“At West London Business we have spent many years working with Heathrow airport to help inform the thinking behind the Heathrow 2.0 strategy for a sustainable airport and an industry-wide shift towards a sustainable future for aviation. We assure our local MPs and the local community that we will continue to work hard with the airport to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy for a zero carbon, socially responsible airport. This can create a zero-carbon infrastructure legacy that informs future airport design in the UK and around the world.”

Next steps

Over the coming days, the Secretary of State for Transport is set to designate the final Airports National Policy Statement approved by Parliament. This will establish the policy framework for Heathrow’s north west runway planning application. Heathrow is currently preparing to hold a second public consultation on its plans before submitting a development consent application to the Planning Inspectorate, kick-starting an 18-month approval process. That process will provide further opportunities for residents and stakeholders to influence Heathrow’s proposal. If Heathrow is granted development consent, construction would begin in 2021 ahead of the new runway opening in 2026.