June 18 (UPI) -- London's Heathrow Airport is adding a third runway that will be operational in a few years, but the project is causing a stir because it requires builders to raze hundreds of homes.
The new runway is part of a master plan for Heathrow that will be developed over the next 30 years. The runway, which will be built to the northwest of the airport and traverse the M25, will be completed by 2026.
"Heathrow's expansion is a project of huge national and local significance, and it is critical to our country's economic growth," the airport's executive director for expansion, Emma Gilthorpe, said. "An expanded hub airport will allow the country to access more of the world, create thousands of jobs locally and nationally and it will open up new trading routes."
More than 750 homes in the area will be leveled for the project, including the entire village of Longford. Also, the M25 will have to be lowered to build a bridge over it and waterways in the area rerouted.
"Not only does it want to disrupt people's lives for up to 30 years while building this new runway but now proposes jumbo-size car parks while pledging to reduce the number of people using cars at the airport," Robert Barnstone, of the Stop Heathrow Expansion group, said.
Gilthorpe said officials will make every effort to minimize disruptions during the multi-year project.
"Expansion must not come at any cost," she said. "That is why we have been working with partners at the airport, in local communities and in government to ensure our plans show how we can grow sustainable and responsibility -- with environmental considerations in the heart of expansion."
There are plans for a "third space" concept with the new terminal that will have an outdoor-indoor hybrid look with a glass roof and trees.
The project was authorized by Parliament a year ago and given final environmental clearance last month, after Britain's High Court dismissed a lawsuit from opponents. One issue of concern -- climate change.
"Parliament has recently declared a climate emergency," Green Party London councilor Caroline Russell said. "That should override the third runway vote. MPs need to pick a side. Do they back climate emergency action or Heathrow expansion?"
Officials said they will spend the next few months considering public input for the project.
Heathrow is the world's seventh-busiest airport, based on passenger traffic.