Construction and consultancy firms Arup, CH2M, MACE and Turner & Townsend have won contracts to work with Heathrow on its runway proposal. They are the first companies to be appointed by the west London airport since it submitted its plans to the Airports Commission. They will help the hub devise the tendering process for construction work on the mooted landing strip and assist with project management.
“I’m delighted that our client partners are now on board and I look forward to working with them to give the UK a truly world-class, sustainable hub airport,” said Ian Ballentine, Heathrow’s director of procurement.
However, the appointments are likely to anger the many opponents of Heathrow’s £17.6bn expansion plans because ministers have not yet approved the project.
Building a third runway in west London is highly contentious, with previous attempts to expand Heathrow failing amid worries it would increase air pollution and aircraft noise, blighting local communities.
While the Government-appointed Airports Commission concluded last July that another Heathrow runway was the best solution to Britain’s looming aviation capacity crisis, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has so far failed to back its recommendation.
Mr Cameron broke his earlier promise to make a decision on Heathrow expansion by last Christmas, with an announcement now planned for the summer. A rival plan to build a second Gatwick runway and an independent proposal to extend one of Heathrow’s existing landing strips are still being considered by the Government.
In December 2015:
Heathrow “revealed in October that it planned to award contracts, worth as much as £5m, to designers, architects and other suppliers in January, to help it with the work required to secure planning consent for expansion. Big engineering firms are in the running to be appointed by Heathrow.”