Royalty and crown-worthy achievements always come to mind when thinking about England.
Well, the throne and new home of Mrs. Prince Harry herself is making headlines once again, this time through the form of air travel as Parliament recently approved plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) — a plan that will expand the airport to make what's already the biggest airport in the world in terms of traffic even bigger.
Described by the government as the most important transportation decision in a generation, the UK House of Commons overwhelmingly approved the decision in a 415-119 vote after hours and hours of controversial debate on the 14 billion-pound ($18.6 billion) project.
The decision "follows decades of study and argument over how to expand airport capacity in southeastern England" and comes just about a century after the-now 78 million annual passenger-visited travel hub opened as "a simple grass runway in a village west of London."
Without it, however, government officials foresee that London’s airports will reach full capacity by the year 2034.
"This is a really important moment in the history of this House and the history of this country," Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the House of Commons as he appealed for lawmakers to "move on from decades of debate and set" in his mind "a clear path to [the country's] future as a global nation in the post-Brexit world."
“As we leave the EU, the UK must remain one of the world’s best-connected and outward-looking countries and a third runway at Heathrow is the best option to deliver this,” Grayling told UK lawmakers earlier in June.
Prime Minister Theresa May seemed just as excited about the new project, believing that it will positively boost the growth of the UK's economy all while "signaling the country's commitment to expand international trade and transport links as it prepares to leave the European Union," notes AP.
Not everyone is as cheerful about the expansion though, as strong resistance has continued even beyond the official vote came to a staggering close a number of weeks ago.
Under the new runway proposal, which would extend over the extremely busy M25 motorway, about 750 homes in the area will be demolished, according to CNN. Increasing the airport's size and bringing in even more air traffic in an already very heavily populated area will also "adversely impact those living nearby and irreparably hurt the environment."
As BBC reports, John McDonnell, a senior member of the opposition Labour party and a strong opponent of the prop, was even quoted saying that his party would halt expansion if it came into power and that an even bigger Heathrow would be a "threat to the planet."
Threat or no threat, this is all bound to be a very much ranted and raved about issue in the months to come. Nonetheless, if there’s one thing London-bound travelers need to know it is this: Expect your next trip through Heathrow to become much more hectic than anyone could have ever expected.