Go-ahead for London Heathrow's fifth terminal

Government approves airport expansion with strict controls on noise, flight numbers

The UK government yesterday approved plans for a fifth terminal at London's Heathrow airport after eight years of talks, which included the country's longest-ever public inquiry. The government said the approval struck a balance between economic and environmental considerations. Planning conditions include a tough limit on flight numbers as well as noise controls.

Under the plan, Heathrow will be subject to a new limit of 480,000 flights per year. However, critics point out that there are already nearly 460,000 and allege that the government will repeat what it did following construction of terminal four and fail to enforce the limit.

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