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London's Heathrow, Europe's biggest airport, launched a public consultation on Tuesday ahead of the construction of a third runway, and gave details on how it plans to mitigate noise disruption for locals from thousands of extra flights.

'As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate.

Those measures came in response to earlier drone sightings that shut down Gatwick airport in the days before Christmas, causing disruption for more than 120,000 passengers.

Frustrated passengers are taking to social media to express their frustration with the Heathrow drone chaos - with one suggesting "it was probably a plastic bag blowing in the wind".

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are in contact with Heathrow Airport concerning the drone sighting".

"We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety", a tweet by Heathrow Airport said.

Departures at Heathrow were temporarily stopped after a drone was reported to have been sighted.

"Sitting on a plane at #Heathrow".

British officials used sophisticated military gear to get Gatwick back in operation, and aviation authorities said that equipment could be deployed at other British airports to deter drone intrusions.

On Tuesday, the Government announced a package of measures created to give police extra powers to combat drones. When a drone collided with a passenger plane over Quebec City, Quebec, last year, the plane landed safely.

The exclusion zone around airports will be extended to approximately a five kilometre radius, with additional extensions from the end of runways.

Police will also be allowed to fine users up to £100 (112 euros, $128) for failing to comply when instructed to land a drone, or not showing registration to operate a drone.