I’ve just had confirmation from three sources that the announcement on a third runway for Heathrow will take place next week. It’s expected Tuesday or Wednesday.
That’s not the same as knowing 100 per cent that the decision will be yes. The cabinet would have to agree to the policy on Tuesday – and a couple of cabinet ministers have serrious reservation. But a positive decision is the firm expectation within Whitehall, government and Labour.
Environmentalists will be furious. The decision is also likely to prompt a backlash from Labour backbenchers, even though it is likely to be dressed up in terms of extra jobs and investment to counter the recession. There could also be the sop of a rail link from Heathrow to the rest of the train network.
I’m told that Geoff Hoon, transport secretary, held a meeting with Gordon Brown this week to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. There have also been talks between Hoon and cabinet doubters such as Hilary Benn.