BATTLE lines are already being drawn following the Airports Commission’s decision to recommend a new runway at Heathrow.

Environmentalists, residents’ groups and politicians of all colours are determined to persuade the Government the best option remains Gatwick.

On the other side, employers and trade unionists are welcoming the Davies Report, which selects Heathrow as the best option but stresses it is for the Government to decide.

Whatever the outcome, the new runway is unlikely to be in use for 20 years.

Back Heathrow’s campaign co-ordinator Rob Gray said: “The main political parties promised to back Sir Howard’s recommendation and they can do so knowing that the majority of residents living near Heathrow will be right behind them.

"More than 100,000 local people already support our campaign to back expansion at the UK's only hub airport.

After decades of dithering, today's politicians must now come together in the national interest and legislate for a new runway at Heathrow. If they fail to do so, this debate will happen all over again in five years.

"Heathrow's critics, like Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith, should now do the decent thing and apologise for their shameful attacks on an airport that has overwhelming majority support following an open and transparent process."

Mick Rix, national officer of GMB, the union for airport workers, said: "More capacity is needed at both Heathrow and Gatwick and both airports can benefit from further investment, with operators at both committed to decent well-paying jobs.

“Heathrow is currently operating at 98% capacity.

“The politicians have to grasp this issue as more than 76,000 people are employed directly at Heathrow, and another 38,000 local jobs rely on it.

“Without a third runway, Heathrow would fall into decline and, in a short space of time, face closure."

However, Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven argued: "Davies’ preferred option is an environmental and political minefield.

“It would jeopardise the UK’s climate targets, worsen air pollution in London, and open up a political can of worms for David Cameron.

“The Prime Minister would do better to ignore the Davies fudge and the aviation industry’s hype, and question instead whether a new runway is needed at all.

“As Mr Cameron himself once said, in response to a question about aviation and climate change: ‘The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts’.

“If anything, the case against is stronger today than when he made that statement."

Candidates for the London Mayoral candidacy also began to show their hands.

Labour’s former transport minister Sadiq Khan MP said: “This is a bad decision. All Londoners should know if I’m elected Mayor I will do everything in my power to stop this health and environmental catastrophe blighting London.”

SEGRO, a huge property owner at Heathrow argued: “The Commission has come to the right decision, which will help UK businesses to expand into key emerging markets in Asia and South America.

“We have been falling behind our international competitors for too long as new direct routes to these emerging markets have continued to grow from other European and Middle Eastern competitor hubs.

“Government needs to bring an end to indecision and let Heathrow get on with building the new runway as quickly as possible.”

The Government’s immediate response will become clearer later today.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “My department has received the final report from the Airports Commission and will now consider that advice in detail.

“As a nation, we must be ambitious and forward-looking. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to answer a vital question.

“I will make a statement to Parliament later today in which I will set out the process for that decision to be made.”