British Parliament Votes to Expand London’s Heathrow Airport

June 26, 2018 Updated: June 26, 2018

British lawmakers voted in favour of building a new runway at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday, June 25, paving the way for the airport’s expansion after decades of delays and policy U-turns.

Lawmakers voted 415 to 119 to support the expansion, a decision that has long divided parliament regardless of party lines, with some opposed to threat of extra noise and air pollution in London, particularly its western regions.

Heathrow’s most high profile opponent Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who once said he would lie down in front of bulldozers to stop the expansion, was in Afghanistan and so missed the vote—sidestepping the embarrassment of either not supporting the government or breaking his word.

The decision to expand Heathrow follows almost half a century of indecision on how and where to add new airport capacity in densely populated southeast England. If it goes ahead, it will be the first full-length runway built in the London area for 70 years.