Hundreds call for expansion at London Heathrow Airport rally

Hundreds of people living near Heathrow Airport held a rally to call for the government to back the building of a new runway at the airport.

Back Heathrow Airport said expansion would boost jobs at a time of "economic difficulties".

The Airports Commission recommended to the government last July there should be a third runway at Heathrow Airport rather than a second at Gatwick Airport.

Opponents claim it would be cheaper and less disruptive to enlarge Gatwick Airport.

The rally at Kempton Park racecourse took place exactly a year after the Airports Commission's report.

He said "more residents living near Heathrow support rather than oppose expansion" and it would be "madness" not to enlarge the airport "given the current political uncertainty and economic difficulties".

Earl Herbert, who attended the rally and lives close to the airport, said a new runway would give "young people... the opportunity to get work".

But not all local residents support Back Heathrow's view.

Pat Miles, who lives nearby, told the BBC that London Gatwick has "so much more land around it", while Heathrow is "a blight for the people who live there."

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate has also claimed the environmental impact of Gatwick was "a tiny fraction" of that caused by Heathrow.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced this week a final decision on airport expansion would be delayed until "at least October".

Source: BBC