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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 23:52 GMT
Heathrow Terminal Five
Designer's impression of how terminal five would look
London's Heathrow airport is already one of the busiest in the world. The controversial plan to add more capacity with Terminal Five has led to a lengthy public inquiry and huge delays before the final decision to press ahead.

November 2001 - Final approval

Passengers at Heathrow airport
Heathrow airport handles over 60 million passengers a year
Transport Secretary Stephen Byers gave the go-ahead for a fifth terminal at Heathrow, saying it was "in the national interest" and would keep Heathrow ahead of its rivals worldwide. He insisted there would be strict controls on noise and the number of flights.

 The BBC's Simon Montague reports

Economy v Environment

A passenger airliner passing over rooftops as it arrives at Heathrow Airport
A passenger airliner approaching Heathrow Airport
It will bring thousands of new jobs, and boost passenger numbers by 25 million a year. But the economic benefits come at an environmental cost and many local people and campaign groups are horrified by the news. They argue that the expansion will bring unacceptable levels of noise and other pollution.

 Anti-Terminal Five Campaigner, John Stewart  Aviation workers' union spokesman, Roger Muskell

Planning Paralysis

Aerial view of Heathrow
BAA first applied to build Terminal Five in 1993
It has taken eight years for the British Airports Authority to get approval for its plans, following the country's longest ever public inquiry. The delay has raised questions over Britain's sometimes tortuous planning system and how far it is responsible for the country's crumbling infrastructure.

 The BBC's Evan Davies reports
 Former Transport Minister Stephen Norris, Architect Will Alsop and Friends of the Earth's Charles Secrett discuss how Britain plans major projects.

May 1995 - The inquiry starts

British Airways Concorde taking off from Heathrow
British Airways Concordes fly in and out of Heathrow every day

The public inquiry into Terminal Five had to consider a range of issues. Over a four year period it heard evidence about noise levels, the impact on the environment and on local roads. It also considered arguments that the development should take place elsewhere.

 The BBC's Christopher Wain reports

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