The third runway question at Heathrow Airport has been a saga spanning nearly two decades.

West London has seen protests for and against expansion, ministers have disputed the decision, businesses have fought for their say, councils have prepared for legal battles and residents have marched to Westminster to have their voices heard.

But now the debate has heated up more than ever as Prime Minister Theresa May announces a decision between a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick airport will be made "imminently" .

getwestlondon's poll shows half of readers believe it will be at Heathrow Airport, 21% Gatwick Airport and 29% guessing it could be an expansion at both locations.

Here, we take a look at the events in the lead up to an announcement and the latest from decision makers in the Cabinet ahead of the decision which Transport Minister Chris Grayling has announced will be tomorrow (Tuesday, October 25).

Decision to go ahead on Tuesday, says Transport Secretary

Employment minister Chris Grayling
Newly appointed Transport Minister Chris Grayling says they "have not made up their mind yet"

The difficult decision of choosing between Heathrow Airport or Gatwick expansion is set to finally arrive on Tuesday (October 25), says Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

In an interview with Andrew Marr on the Andrew Marr show, Grayling denied Ministers had made up their mind as to whether there should be a third runway at Heathrow, to extend a runway there or build a second runway at Gatwick Airport, but said, “That decision will be taken this week.

“And what people look slightly surprised by when I tell them is, actually, we’ve got a genuinely difficult decision.”

Despite reports from the BBC of a delay suspected until Winter 2017, he insisted an announcement will come on Tuesday.

“Genuinely, it’s going to be a decision on Tuesday,” he told Marr.

“It’s a difficult one. All three are well-crafted proposals, and any one of them could bring benefits to the United Kingdom.”

The announcement is reported to be due late morning.

West London's political story: MPs divide, as Mayor of London firmly opposes plans

MPs at loggerheads over expansion at Heathrow Airport
MPs at loggerheads over expansion at Heathrow Airport

Our west London MPs remain divided on the decision.

On the one hand, backing Heathrow Airport expansion is Steve Pound, MP for North Ealing and Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, who wrote a joint letter to Boris Johnson to highlight that despite the boroughs being home to 10,000 Heathrow employees, they are surprised Mr Johnson ranks his Thames Estuary project “over real jobs in our communities”.

Letter from MPs in Ealing and Slough sent to Boris Johnson over Heathrow
Letter from MPs in Ealing and Slough sent to Boris Johnson over Heathrow

Meanwhile, fiercely against the expansion is MP for Brentford and Isleworth Ruth Cadbury who has revealed a majority of people in her constituency think a third runway is a “bad idea”.

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter called the Heathrow plans a “breach of trust” and quit his government secretarial role over the issue in 2013 - and has since continued to campaign against it.

MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip Boris Johnson has been an open critic of the plans and has shared the platform with MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith, who stands resolute that he will resign from Parliament should the decision go ahead at Heathrow.

Boris Johnson shares his views on Heathrow Airport at 2015 elections hustings

Meanwhile in City Hall, Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has opposed Heathrow expansion plans since before the elections, stood his ground, despite Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye saying the new plans could persuade him.

However, in October’s Mayor’s Question Time, when asked if he was willing to commit funds for a legal battle against Heathrow plans should the decision go that way, he was unable to answer.

Instead, Khan slammed Theresa May over the delay and said: “The Government’s decision to yet again delay deciding where to build a new runway will cause unnecessary uncertainty for British businesses already struggling with Brexit.

“Now more than ever, businesses need certainty and stability in order to make investment decisions and to keep jobs in Britain.

“Instead they are getting dither and delay.”

“Dither and delay” is hindering London business, says Sadiq Khan

It’s not just at a national level that disputes are mounting - 11 local councils in the area, including Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Hillingdon, jointly wrote a letter to May explaining why they back Gatwick Airport’s second runway expansion, with Hillingdon council preparing for legal battle.

Two decades of setbacks: A timeline of the third runway political saga

The Heathrow question has seen MPs and councils divide in opinion.

Where Westminster is concerned, the saga has seen five transport secretaries and three governments dabble with plans, with setbacks in the decision announced at least three times.

Where did it all begin and how did the politics behind Heathrow unravel?

The aviation expansion timeline

At the heart of the issue: The plight of west London residents

With so many voices wading into the debate, the one we at getwestlondon have never forgotten about is YOU - our residents. Spanning nearly two decades now, families and friends have united in their cause, whether it’s for or against expansion. Being the people who will be affected by the runway, whether it’s job opportunities or removal of houses occupied for years, here’s what you have told us about the saga.

No third runway protesters rally outside Downing Street, 2016

“Grim year for residents if Heathrow goes ahead”

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the long-established group campaign group which opposes expansion, has joined forces with those living across west London boroughs to fight against the airport expansion proposals for several years and told getwestlondon it will be a “grim year if Heathrow goes ahead”.

What began as protests in villages beside the airport - such as Harmondsworth - grew to much larger protests and widely covered events such as 2,000 paper planes being planted in Westminster and protests at the airport itself to highlight the environmental impact, such as the “die in” this October.

With people living in west London unable to sell their homes, get the full value of their properties and facing removal from their houses to make way for a third runway, MPs such as Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell and Boris Johnson have stepped in to see how they can help those quite literally caught in the middle of the debate.

Here, we take a look at the protests over the years.

Anti-third runway protests over the years

“Mr McDonnell’s shameful attitude towards Heathrow is an unfunny joke”

But not everyone is against expansion in west London, and Back Heathrow, led by Campaign Director Rob Gray have been equally active in expressing their views.

In September 2016, residents backing the runway called Mr McDonnell “offensive” for “not backing Hayes and Harlington residents who are proud of the airport and are frustrated they are represented by a council and an MP as negative as Hillingdon”.

And the group have previously made it known there are plenty of supporters should the decision go that way, delivering postcards to Downing Street signed by over 5000 people hoping for a business boost in the area.