The first phase of the controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) railway passed its final parliamentary hurdle last night, paving the way for work to start later this year.
Plans for the £56 billion rail project are expected to be given Royal Assent in the coming week.
The new high speed line will go through parts of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and will open in 2026.
Environmental and local campaigners claim historic properties and areas of special interest will be devastated by the line.
Labour MP Keir Starmer warned that construction on the project would impact the lives of residents for 17 years.
The Government says it will create tens of thousands of jobs and benefit the economy by billions of pounds.
Trains will travel at 225 miles an hour between London and Birmingham and reduce congestion on existing lines. Journeys will take 49 minutes, about half an hour faster than today.
A second phase of the scheme will go from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester and is being consulted on.
A tunnel leading into Heathrow airport has reopened after it was blocked by protestors.
Activists from 'Rising Up!', opposed to a planned third runway at the airport, blocked the road using three cars. Three protestors were chained to one of the cars.
The drivers of two of the vehicles- both men - were arrested for obstructing a highway and taken into custody at a west London police station.
Heathrow officers worked with Heathrow Airport staff to remove two men and a woman locked to the third car, who were then arrested.
One man has been taken to hospital as a precaution.
The inbound tunnel has now reopened. Traffic should return to normal shortly. Thank you for your patience.
The M4 eastbound exit slip road is closed at junction 4 due to a protest on the route into Heathrow airport.
The link road from the M4 is now open, with a contra-flow system in place.
Activists have chained themselves to a car and blocked one of the main routes into Heathrow airport.
Drivers have been warned of possible delays caused by the protest in a tunnel leading to terminals 2 and 3. Traffic has been building on the M4 since the protest began.
Three cars were used to block the route, while two people have been arrested for obstructing a highway and blocking the tunnel. Police say they are working with airport staff to remove a people chained to a third car.
The protest has been organised by 'Rising Up!' - a group opposed to a third runway at Heathrow:
Rising Up! has taken this action today to show solidarity with those people worst affected by Heathrow expansion.
Thousands of local residents are set to lose their homes and 300,000 people a year lose their lives due to effects of climate change, most of these being black, brown and indigenous peoples in the global south.
It is the responsibility of those people who have the privilege to take action to take a stand with those most affected and prevent climate chaos.
Heathrow supports the right to peaceful protest within the law, but the safety and security of our passengers, aircraft and colleagues together with the smooth running of the operation is paramount.
The government announced in October that it plans to build a new runway at the airport, which would see an extra 260,000 take-off or landings each year.
It followed a long consultation about whether to build a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick.
There is expected to be a strike on London underground this evening.
The planned strike will affect the Central line and the Waterloo & City line from 11pm tonight and all day tomorrow - Wednesday 22nd February.
Check before you travel, and visit the Transport for London website for updates on how the strike could affect your journeys.
The drivers union ASLEF will meet with Southern tomorrow for secret peace talks, ITV News Meridian can reveal.Read the full story ›
Business leaders in Sussex are protesting over the continuing dispute on Southern Rail, warning it's threatening the region's economy.Read the full story ›
Business leaders in the Sussex town of Eastbourne are expected to hold a protest today over the disruption being caused to the area's transport network by the ongoing dispute between Southern Railways and the unions over changes to the role of train guards.
Members of the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce and the south coast chambers claim that problems on Southern Railways have cost the local economy more than three hundred million pounds.
The business leaders say the rail operator, the RMT and ASLEF unions, and the Transport minister all bear responsibility for the continuing row.
Southern Railway said it expects to run three quarters of its normal service during a fresh 24-hour strike by some of its staff next week.Read the full story ›
Southern Railway hopes to run about 75% of its train services during a strike next week Wednesday.Read the full story ›