LONDON, ENGLAND - THE British government will give the green light on Thursday to plans to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport, the world's biggest international air hub, the BBC reported.
A lawmaker campaigning against the expansion, Mr Martin Salter, also said Wednesday that he expected ministers to announce their support for the nine-billion-pound (S$19.43 billion) project.
Mr Salter is one of more than 40 members of Parliament from Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour party who oppose the plans, which have reportedly split the cabinet and sparked outrage among environmental groups and local residents.
'It's looking bad. I am expecting a decision tomorrow. I am expecting it to be the wrong decision, with the runway going ahead,' he said.
The BBC said Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon would seek to allay fears about the environmental impact of the expansion by imposing new restrictions on airlines to use new planes that make less noise and are less polluting.
Business groups, airlines and some trades unions are likely to welcome the government's decision, however. They argue the expansion is vital to Britain's economic competitiveness and will create thousands of much-needed jobs.
Mr Hoon said last month that the decision on Heathrow, which was due by the end of last year, would be delayed until January. The Department of Transport on Wednesday refused to comment further. -- AFP