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Last Updated: Thursday January 15 2009 19:07 GMT

New Heathrow runway gets go-ahead

Heathrow runways

The government has agreed to plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The man in charge of transport for the UK, Geoff Hoon, announced the decision on Thursday.

Lots of people who've spent a long time protesting against the plans are really angry, as they say having more flights will be really bad for the environment.

But supporters of the scheme insist it is the right decision as they think the new runway will create lots of jobs and be really good for Britain's economy.

Pupils aren't happy that their school will have to close to make way for the runway

Although the government has approved the runway, it said there will have to be limits on the amount of noise and pollution the planes can create.

But that's not enough to convince people living around the airport, environmental campaigners and some of the politicians who don't want the new runway to be built.

There have even been reports of disagreements within the government over the issue, and more than 50 Labour MPs are openly against the plans.

Increase in flights

Protestors take part in picnic dressed as Suffragettes at Heathrow Airport (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
The third runway will mean the number of flights using Heathrow will rise from around 480,000 a year, to 702,000 by 2030.

But 700 homes and at least one school in the area will have to be knocked down to make way for it.

And environmental campaigners say the pollution from the flights will mean the government won't reach its targets for cutting carbon emissions.

Planning permission

Although the government is backing the plans, it's only the start of a very long planning process and work on the runway is unlikely to be completed before 2019.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there would still be a debate in Parliament over the issue, and that the scheme would have to get planning permission.