UK secretary of state for transport Geoff Hoon has officially approved plans to add a third runway and sixth terminal at London Heathrow, but at the same time has rejected proposals for a switch to 'mixed-mode' operations.
Addressing the UK House of Commons this afternoon, Hoon said two of the options for Heathrow's future growth involved a switch to mixed-mode operations which would enable departures and arrivals to be performed on the same runway.
But he says the mixed-mode proposal generated strong objections from local residents, who value the existing arrangement under which the runways used for arrivals and departures are switched each afternoon.
© Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flight International
"Having carefully considered the evidence, I have decided not to proceed with mixed-mode," said Hoon during his address.
The Cranford Agreement, which protects residents to the east of the northern runway, will also end under the government plan.
Hoon outlined the economic benefits of Heathrow's development and voiced his confidence that noise, emissions and transport infrastructure issues could be overcome via a series of new measures.
"Having considered all the evidence, I am confident that the government's three conditions for supporting a third runway at London Heathrow can be met," he says.