British lawmakers set to vote on Heathrow Airport runway plan

Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport but is now operating at full capacity, and a £14 billion plan to build a third runway faces opposition from local communities and environmentalists. (Reuters)
Updated 25 June 2018
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British lawmakers set to vote on Heathrow Airport runway plan

LONDON: British lawmakers will vote on whether to build a new runway at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday, potentially paving the way for the airport’s expansion after decades of delays and policy U-turns.
The government is expected to win the vote, although the result could be close on the issue which has split lawmakers regardless of their party lines, with some opposed to the extra noise and air pollution it will bring to London.
Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport but is now operating at full capacity. A £14 billion plan to build a third runway faces opposition from local communities and environmentalists, but its backers say it is needed to enable new trade links and help secure economic growth.
The decision to expand Heathrow follows almost half a century of indecision on how and where to add new airport capacity in densely populated southeast England. If it goes ahead, it will be the first full-length runway built in the London area for 70 years.
Despite the opposition, which saw the resignation of trade minister Greg Hands from the government last Thursday, the vote is expected to pass because the opposition Labour party said this week its MPs will be given free rein to vote with the government.
However, if the Scottish National Party votes against the government, which the BBC reported was a possibility, it could make the outcome close.
Heathrow’s most high-profile opponent, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who once said he would lie down in front of bulldozers to stop the expansion, may be out of Britain on Monday and so not attend the vote in parliament.
Even if lawmakers approve the plan, it could still face a legal challenge from a group of local councils, and last week, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he would join the action against the third runway if parliament voted to approve it.


Saudi Arabia, China sign $28 billion worth of economic accords

Updated 37 min 37 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia, China sign $28 billion worth of economic accords

  • A total 35 agreements had been signed at a joint investment forum held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and China signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum during a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Beijing, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Friday.
It said 35 agreements had been signed at the forum, held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA. It also said four licenses for Chinese companies had been awarded at the forum.

The forum, which coincided with the official visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman China as part of his Asian tour, aimed at enhancing opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Other cooperation agreements signed during the forum included areas of the Kingdom's target sectors such as renewable energy aimed at activating cooperation and consultation frameworks in the field of investment development in wind turbines by manufacturing Electric control devices, wind turbine structures, turbine blades and wind generators with an investment of $ 18 million.

The agreement aims to open up to 800 new job opportunities in one of the most targeted sectors of sustainable development.