Heathrow begins public consultation on airport expansion
Heathrow has launched its public consultation on some aspects of its hoped-for 3rd runway. https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/ It runs till the 28th March, and the airport will be putting on a number of public information events. Details of those are at https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/events/ The consultation is very vague and general, and is looking initially at a range of topics, on which is has produced “information papers”. These topics are airspace principles https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/documents-resources/airspace-principles-consultation-document/ the Development Consent Order process https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/documents-resources/development-consent-order-process-information-paper/ the Environmental Impact Assessment https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/documents-resources/environmental-impact-assessment-information-paper/ Property Policies https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/documents-resources/property-policies-information-paper/ and generally their Emerging Plans https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/documents-resources/our-emerging-plans/
There is little to reassure those horrified by the implications of a 3rd runway, whether in terms of its social, economic or environmental impact. There is nothing, for example, to give any certainty on air pollution. AEF Deputy Director Cait Hewitt commented: “The key environmental barriers to expansion will need to be addressed by Government. On air quality, the scale of the problem means that any measures that Heathrow may be proposing will be pretty much irrelevant.”
The Heathrow consultation launched today
They have a dedicated website with all the documents.
There is then a page with dozens of documents which can be found here https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/documents-resources/
Some media coverage:
Heathrow public consultation can’t resolve air quality and climate change barriers to expansion
Heathrow Airport has launched a public consultation on its proposed expansion and airspace change principals. The consultation, which opened today, remains open until 28th March 2018. Below is AEF’s reaction.
AEF’s deputy director, Cait Hewitt, said:
“The key environmental barriers to expansion will need to be addressed by Government.On air quality, the scale of the problem means that any measures that Heathrow may be proposing will be pretty much irrelevant.
“The bigger question of whether or not London’s air pollution will have fallen to within legal limits by the time a new runway is due to open (bringing with it an additional swathe of passenger and freight traffic) depends on how successful the London Mayor and the UK Government are in delivering new air quality policies and measures.
“There’s little Heathrow can do to influence the issue of background emissions, and we’re concerned that the Government plans to shift responsibility for the problem to the airport.
“When it comes to climate change, the Government is still refusing even to have a conversation about how to tackle the problem of how to keep aviation emissions in line with the UK’s legal obligations until the other side of a parliamentary vote on Heathrow, because a third runway would push CO2 emissions over the limit recommended by the Government’s own advisers.
“Even on noise, Heathrow can’t change the fact that expansion would mean an additional 700 planes per day over London residents, and it will be several years before we know where these will fly as we still have no certainty on where the flight paths will be.
“No one should assume that a decision to expand Heathrow is done and dusted. There are still big questions about environmental impacts that only the Government can answer.”
Contact: Tim Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Cait Hewitt email@example.com
0203 859 9371 (Out of office hours 07710 381742)
Heathrow begins public consultation on airport expansion, motorway move
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said the government aims to give the go-ahead to the new runway in the first half of this year.
The expansion plan has been controversial, with critics highlighting the possible impact on air quality in London and noise levels in the local community, while airlines want the airport to keep costs down.
The consultation will work to deliver expansion while meeting strict environmental tests, the airport said, but will also ask for views on a proposal to move a short section of the London orbital M25 motorway 150 metres to the west.
The proposal would also lower the motorway by 7 metres and put it in a tunnel so the runway can pass over it. Local residents will also be consulted on three options for the new runway and what the terminal infrastructure should be.
Heathrow has pledged to keep costs down during the expansion, and said it had identified options to deliver the airport for 2.5 billion pounds less than previous plans thanks to engagement over the last year.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L), said Heathrow had to become cheaper for its expansion to succeed, in an article in the Financial Times earlier this week.
Airlines UK, an industry association which represents UK-registered carriers, said that airlines might renege on their support for expansion if costs were not kept down.
“Airlines have been consistent in their support for expansion at Heathrow and will be making the case for a new runway,” said Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK.
“However… this backing remains conditional upon costs being kept under control and passenger charges not increasing in real terms, and they will reserve the right to withdraw their support if this is not achievable.”
The airport will propose cutting 300 metres from the length of the northwestern runway, a scheme approved by the government following the Airports Commission process, in an attempt to cut costs.
Although the government has backed Heathrow’s expansion, it has also said it must not mean higher charges for airlines, which would probably be passed on to passengers. British Airways, which operates about half the flights at Heathrow, had complained bitterly about the expected cost of the new runway. Heathrownow believes it can deliver the runway for £14.3bn, cutting £2.5bn from the original price, and keeping charges “close to” today’s levels.
Plans for a brand new terminal could also be jettisoned in favour of expanding around its two main existing terminals, with construction phased to cut costs.
The shorter runway will still require the M25 to be moved 150 metres west, with the airport now proposing that Britain’s busiest motorway be accommodated in a shallower tunnel under a slightly ramped runway.
The options, including whether the shorter runway would be located to the western or eastern end of where the full-length 3.5km runway (2.1 miles) would lie, will be presented to the public in 40 events over a 10-week consultation.
Heathrow hopes that its consultation – independent of government consultations in the planning process – will allow it to present its best case and pre-empt some objections ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote expected this year on the national policy statement on aviation, which gives the go-ahead for another runway. The airport has pledged higher compensation to residents, a six-and-a-half-hour ban on scheduled night flights, and to stay within air quality limits.
Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, said: “We need feedback to help deliver this opportunity responsibly and to create a long-term legacy both at a local and national level. Heathrow is consulting to ensure that we deliver benefits for our passengers, businesses across the country but also, importantly, for those neighbours closest to us.”
John Stewart, chair of the anti-Heathrow noise group Hacan, said: “The Airport Commission calculations of economic benefits were on the basis of the capacity of a full-length runway. A shorter runway could open a can of worms, and invite a judicial review from Heathrow Hub or even Gatwick.”
The consultation will also discuss the redesign of air space, which will affect flight paths over London and beyond. Although the reform is being driven independently of Heathrow, the likely impact would be to further concentrate air traffic over the same routes.
Should parliament back expansion, Heathrow will need to consult further on the details before submitting plans, with final approval not expected before 2021. A 3rd runway is not expected to be operational before 2025 at the earliest.