Bishop said at a meeting of the Westminster energy, environment and transport forum that the estimates for passenger numbers made three years ago are ‘already out of date’, claiming that demand for air travel is growing 10 per cent faster than assumed.
Even with a third runway at Heathrow, Bishop predicted the UK will face “capacity constraints” again by 2050. She said “there may be a need for a runway beyond that looking out to 2050”, according to The Times.
With both Heathrow and Gatwick airports reporting yet another month of passenger growth in October and IATA predicting 8.2 billion air travellers in 2037, demand for air travel could continue to grow in the coming decade.
Bishop said the government will release the Aviation Strategy Green Paper, which will consult on the decision-making process for delivering a further runway in the UK by 2050.
While the current government has ruled out building a fourth runway at Heathrow, Gatwick airport has revealed a proposal to use its existing emergency air strip as a second runway to increase capacity, although both airports are facing opposition from local and environmental bodies.
Commenting on Paul McGuinness, chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “With the financial and legal challenges of Heathrow’s third runway far from overcome, this new option for another runway is likely to bedevil Heathrow’s plans going forward, bringing a fresh dimension of doubt to the current project.
“It truly beggars belief that a further runway is even being mooted. Given environmental targets are struggling to be met with the existing Heathrow plans, yet another new runway would make a laughing stock of the UK’s commitment to the environment. Maybe the government is having its own doubts on Heathrow and is trying to find a way out.”
Third Heathrow runway ‘won’t be enough by 2050’
By Graeme Paton (The Times)
November 13 2018,
Airlines flying in or out of the UK carried 285 million passengers last year
A third runway at Heathrow would not be enough to satisfy passenger demand for flights within the next 30 years, a senior government official has warned.
Estimates for passenger numbers made three years ago were “already looking quite out of date, with demand at a national level growing 10 per cent faster” than assumed, according to Sarah Bishop, deputy director of aviation policy at the Department for Transport.
By 2050 “we are expecting that there will be capacity constraints once more, even with a third runway at Heathrow,” she told a recent meeting of the Westminster energy, environment and transport forum.
“Capacity in the southeast up to 2030 will be well served with an additional runway at Heathrow, but there may be a need for a runway beyond that looking out to 2050.”
Airlines flying in or out of the UK carried 285 million passengers last year, a rise of almost 15 million from a year earlier and up by 30 million in two years. The government has already ruled out a fourth runway at Heathrow although this would not prevent a future administration from pushing ahead with the proposal.
Heathrow will hold a public consultation next summer into the £14 billion project to build a two-mile third runway that would increase the annual number of flights from a maximum of 480,000 a year now to 740,000.
Robert Barnstone, co-ordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “This beggars belief. One runway isn’t going to meet a multitude of environmental targets, let alone another one.”
UK government to look at adding another runway in south-east
Third one at Heathrow won’t be enough to satisfy passenger demand says official
Josh Spero (FT)
NOVEMBER 13, 2018
The government will set in motion in December the process to determine which UK airport will get a new runway, before ground has even been broken for the last runway it approved.
Sarah Bishop, deputy director of aviation policy in the Department for Transport, said in a speech to a transport think-tank that government forecasts for aviation growth from 2015 were “already looking quite out of date” and that the south-east of England could need a new runway by 2050, “so we need to be on the front foot and set out the decision-making framework for considering that question”.
Ms Bishop said the government would launch a consultation in December to examine whether it needed a new airports commission, like the one which awarded Heathrow a third runway; a site-specific government-led white paper; or “a more market-led approach” with a “more permissive National Policy Statement”.
The Davies Commission, which endorsed Heathrow’s new runway in July 2015, predicted at the time that another new runway might be needed by 2050 but said its environmental impact had to be considered “if further expansion is not to materially affect the UK’s ability to meet current and future climate obligations.” It also said: “There would not be any credible case, however, for a fourth runway at Heathrow.”
Heathrow has said its new runway will be ready in 2026, if it passes a series of legal and planning challenges.
Paul McGuinness, chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “It truly beggars belief that a further runway is even being mooted. Given environmental targets are struggling to be met with the existing Heathrow plans, yet another new runway would make a laughing stock of the UK’s commitment to the environment.”
The DfT sounded a note of caution in a later statement: “The Airports Commission has set out that there would likely be sufficient demand to justify a second additional runway by 2050, or in some scenarios earlier — although this does not necessarily mean that this would be justified on economic or environmental grounds.”
Heathrow said: “What is clear is that a third runway is urgently needed now and our focus remains directly on delivering this for Britain. We have always been clear that we would accept a commitment from government ruling out a fourth runway at Heathrow, but that is a matter of government’s policy to enforce.”