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The public inquiry into the £2.5 billion fifth terminal has been the longest in British history.

The Richard Rogers Partnership won the competition for the new terminal building in 1990 and lodged a planning application in February 1993. A public inquiry resulted, which ran between May 1995 and February 1999, with the inspector finally delivering his report in December 2000. At a cost of nearly £100 million, the inquiry has proven to be enormously expensive.BAA puts its costs at £80 million, the coalition of local authorities opposing the application spent £8 million, with Friends of the Earth spending just £7,000. A final decision will be handed down by the Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Byers. As the AJ went to press, the DTLR was promising it within the week. From government leaks in the past few weeks, it seems likely that T5 will be given the go-ahead, albeit with restrictions attached.

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