Long-awaited decision hailed, missed opportunity rued: Newspapers on Heathrow
The third runway was overwhelmingly backed in the Commons.
The third runway for Heathrow got the green light from Parliament late on Monday evening – more than 15 years after it was first suggested by the then Labour Government.
Controversy surrounding the multi-billion pound project and the absence of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson from the vote has given columnists and commentators plenty to chew over in Tuesday’s papers.
The Daily Mail’s leader asked if it is finally “chocks away” for Heathrow saying it was “about time too”.
“Is the longest chapter of political cowardice in our history at last drawing to a close?,” the paper said, adding: “This paper prays that last night’s vote marks the beginning of the end of 50 years of wrangling, dithering and delays that have shown our politicians at their pusillanimous and self-interested worst.”
It said it had sympathy with those living near the proposed development, but said: “What is indisputable – as rivals in France, Germany and elsewhere attract business that might otherwise come to Britain – is that the UK is crying out for greater airport capacity and the jobs that will come with it.
“This will be truer than ever after Brexit.”
We don’t see what realistic choice he had but to be away. The Government cannot cope with another Cabinet walkout of that magnitude
The Sun said the vote underlined how “hopelessly slow” Britain is when building “vital infrastructure”.
“The third runway has been debated for decades. Even though it has now been approved it still faces years of delays,” the paper wrote.
“By the time it is opened it will already be at capacity.”
On Boris Johnson, the paper wrote that he got himself in a “pickle” but those calling for his resignation were motivated by removing the main figurehead for Brexit.
It said: “We don’t see what realistic choice he had but to be away. The Government cannot cope with another Cabinet walkout of that magnitude.
“And 17.4 million Brexit voters need him where he is.”
By voting to expand Heathrow airport, parliament is compounding one disastrous planning mistake with another
While the Times said the vote was “the beginning of a process with no end in sight”.
Under a subheading of “by voting to expand Heathrow airport, parliament is compounding one disastrous planning mistake with another”, their leading article said expanding the airport misses the opportunity to rebalance infrastructure spending.
It refers to the canned London Britannia Airport – dubbed Boris Island after key supporter Mr Johnson – on the Thames Estuary which would have had more runways as having the “great merit of ambition” before adding that four runways would not have been enough.
“Frankfurt has four already. Amsterdam has six. Denver has six, with room for 12. China plans 130 new airports by 2025.
“By then the HS2 rail link will almost have reached Birmingham, whose airport seeks to expand, has the space and could give Britain something it has barely dreamt of: a hub airport in a sensible place not just for London but for the whole country.”