Virgin, Thales and TUI promise not to leave Crawley even if Gatwick doesn’t get a 2nd runway

There has been discussion in the Gatwick and Crawley areas about what impact a new Gatwick runway could have on businesses and jobs locally, and what impact there would be either if there was no runway, or Heathrow was permitted to build a runway. Now some of Crawley’s biggest employers have confirmed that they will stay at Gatwick, regardless of whether there is no new runway there. The Crawley News contacted 5 of the biggest employers in the town, including Thales and Virgin, (also TUI, Nestlé and Elekta) to find out if they are committed to staying in the town even if Heathrow got a new runway.  Four of the five pledged to stay put.  Thales, based in Manor Royal, says it will not be leaving and around 2,000 of their employees are currently based there. Virgin Holidays has 600 staff working in Crawley centre, and a total of 2,100 staff in the area, including the airport. They have “no plans to relocate our base to Heathrow.” The TUI Group has around 500 staff in the Crawley area, with their HR, finance, investor relations, PR and IT. As their airline operations are at Luton, they have no reason to leave Gatwick. Nestlé has its head office in Manor Royal, with some 840 jobs – it refused to comment on the issue.  Elekta has just spent a lot of money on a new building in Manor Royal.



Virgin, Thales and TUI promise not to leave Crawley even if Gatwick Airport doesn’t get a second runway

February 13, 2015

By Chris Ballinger (Crawley News)
SOME of Crawley’s biggest employers have committed their future to the town even if Heathrow is awarded a new runway instead of Gatwick Airport.  [Quite possibly there will be no new runway… if is very much a matter of “if” and not just “where”].

There has been feverish speculation in recent weeks about the possible impact on local jobs if Gatwick isn’t chosen for expansion.

Many residents and business leaders have expressed fears that some of Crawley’s biggest employers could even move out of the town.

So this week the Crawley News contacted five of the biggest employers in the town, including Thales and Virgin, to find out if they are committed to staying in the town whatever the outcome.

The firms questioned together provide thousands of jobs in the town and all but one pledged to stay put.

Thales, based in Manor Royal, says it will not be leaving the town.

A company spokesman said: “Thales UK has a long and proud history at our Manor Royal site and around 2,000 of our employees are currently based there.

“As one of the largest employers in Crawley we have been and remain fully committed to the site and the local area.

“While we recognise the business benefits a new runway at Gatwick would bring to the region it does not affect our decision to maintain our presence in the area.”

Sir Richard Branson has made Crawley a home for large parts of his business empire.

The head office of Virgin Holidays is at The Galleria, in Station Road, in the town centre, where 660 people work and Virgin Atlantic has its training base, called simply The Base, in Fleming Way, Manor Royal.

There are a total of 2,100 Virgin Atlantic staff based in Crawley and at Gatwick Airport.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays said: “We are fully engaged in the Davies Commission process and in fact made our submission last week.

“What we have been clear about is that the UK’s ability to compete for global trade will continue to be damaged without additional hub capacity and we believe this would be best achieved through expansion at the UK’s existing hub, Heathrow.

“What we have additionally been very clear about is that Gatwick is an important airport for us, with a huge demand for leisure/holiday traffic and it will continue to be important to us.

“We have no plans to relocate our base to Heathrow.”

The TUI Group has three offices in Crawley – TUI Specialist Holidays, in The Atrium, on London Road, TUI Travel House, on Fleming Way, and TUI Jetset House, on Church Road.

The travel company has more than 500 staff in the town.

A company spokesman said the runway decision would not have an impact on what happens in Crawley.

The spokesman said: “The TUI Group’s UK headquarters in Crawley has functions such as HR, finance, investor relations, PR and IT.

“Our airline operations are located in Luton, hence there is no direct relation of our office with Gatwick Airport.”

Manor Royal location

Manor Royal is just to the north of Crawley, south of Gatwick airport

Nestlé moved its UK head office to City Place, in Manor Royal, in 2012 bringing 840 jobs to the town.

The company refused to comment on its future plans when approached.

Steve Sawyer, executive director of Manor Royal Business District, which represents local businesses, is hopeful that no businesses would jump ship.

He said: “I’ve not heard of companies threatening to move out if Gatwick does not expand but greater connectivity and ease of moving people, customers and goods around nationally and internationally is important to companies operating overseas or with owners or visitors from overseas.

“Arguably companies may look elsewhere if they feel these needs can be better met elsewhere but I’ve not picked that up in my discussions.

“A number of our key companies are actually expanding and investing now before they know the outcome of the second runway debate.

“Elekta is a prime example, investing £50 million with the Cornerstone project (a new building being constructed in Manor Royal).

“The worst possible case, I think, is that Heathrow is allowed to expand and we still have to safeguard land indefinitely (for a possible future runway) thereby restricting our ability to grow and creating more uncertainty into the future.”


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Heathrow has paid numerous Chambers of Commerce around the country to hold events, to drum up business support

Heathrow Airport has spent a lot of time and energy arranging seminars at as many Chambers of Commerce as possible, across the country. Heathrow has offered each Chamber around £3,000 to hold these seminars, where they can pitch their case for a 3rd runway. About 25 Chambers have agreed – costing Heathrow around £75,000 – and given Heathrow their support. However, when approached by Heathrow, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce was not impressed, and declined the seminar offer. The Manchester Chamber speaking for the local business community said there was increasing evidence that there is no need for a larger hub airport, and the UK should instead make better use of the network airports – including Manchester Airport. Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese described Heathrow’s approach as ‘desperate’. John Holland-Kaye has been speaking at events, spreading the word that only a new Heathrow runway will enable British companies to trade with the rest of the world .. etc etc. He mentions the “need” for a runway, because we “need” to be able to export live Scottish languostines to Singapore …. Truly a “First World Problem.”  Or the “need” to be able to air freight chocolate to Mexico ….. John H-K speech with the source of those lunacies.



Some of the Chambers of Commerce that have held these “One Hub or None” events


Heathrow Backs Business Growth

10 February, 2015  (Heathrow Airport press release)

Heathrow Airport says:

– 32 local Chambers of Commerce in every nation and region across the UK have pledged support for Heathrow expansion

– Only Heathrow can help Britain’s companies do business with the world

– Calls for urgent action once the Commission reports

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye publicly thanked local Chambers of Commerce throughout the UK for their support for expansion at today’s BCC (British Chambers of Commerce) conference.

Addressing an audience of senior business leaders and politicians, Holland-Kaye announced that 32 local Chambers of Commerce representing firms from across the UK have now pledged their support Heathrow expansion. It means that for the first time, local Chambers in every nation and region of the UK are backing Heathrow as the only option that would deliver more jobs and more economic growth, shared more fairly across the UK, than any other option.

Over the last six months, Heathrow has met with most local Chambers of Commerce to understand how it can help members do business with the world, and found a huge appetite to export up and down the country from businesses of all sizes. Yet with the UK’s only hub airport running at full capacity and increasingly unable to add flights to emerging markets, there are many overseas markets that businesses will never be able to get to directly without expansion.

Heathrow Airport says:

Growth at Heathrow would help those businesses by delivering:

– Up to 40 more long-haul destinations
– More freight exports
– More connections to every part of Britain, helping to rebalance the economy
– More competition and choice, leading to better value for passengers

An example of a business which would benefit from Heathrow expansion is Keltic Seafare, which supplies live langoustines from local fisherman to the tables of Michelin star restaurants. They are trying to grow internationally, with potential customers in Singapore.

Ben Murray, Managing Director of Keltic Seafare, said: “Speed is vital for the success of our business. Without a direct flight from Inverness to Heathrow, we have to send a van three hours to Glasgow or fly our product via Amsterdam to access high-value markets abroad, with consequences for the freshness of the seafood. The round-trip adds to our overheads – it is like a day’s work for a person. As an exporter, we need connectivity to keep operating costs down and grow our business around the world.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“I would like to thank the many local Chambers for making your voices heard. You have shown that expanding Heathrow will benefit every size of business, from every sector, in every region and nation in the UK. Heathrow is our main gateway for exporters and their products going to global markets. If air routes are the arteries through which trade flows, then Heathrow, our hub is the UK’s economic heart. We need to make the right choice in our generation to secure the prosperity we have enjoyed for future generations. Let’s choose to be ambitious. Let’s expand Heathrow. Let’s get on with it.”


Notes to editors

[These are various quotes from Chambers of Commerce]:

“Heathrow, which is already operating as a successful hub airport, should be prioritised for expansion,”

-Colin Stanbridge, the chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce
“We also believe that Heathrow’s proposal recognises the economic importance and potential of all regions of the UK. Highland businesses are increasingly operating competitively in the global market place, and in spite of our unfit for purpose infrastructure, the region has enjoyed consistent economic growth. Nevertheless, this cannot be sustained for much longer without improved connectivity. ”

Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive, Inverness Chamber of Commerce
“Many Northern Irish businesses export around the world directly and through other online retailers and as Heathrow airport does freight, these businesses are reliant on air freight to support their business, as many send next day delivery packages around the world.”

Paul McMahon, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Industry

“After looking at all the options we firmly believe that the option of expanding Heathrow airport is the best option for Welsh businesses.”

Graham Morgan, Director, South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce

“Every part of the UK needs access to global markets. An expanded Heathrow will have new rail links to the North, East, South and West. It will be easier for every part of Britain to access global markets and every part of Britain will be a more attractive location for inward investment.”

Plymouth Chamber of Commerce

“Expansion at Heathrow must be permitted at the earliest possible moment. Securing our national hub, a key national asset and a wealth creator for regions such as the North East, allows us to move forward and address the challenges we face and in so doing, help businesses link to and create the opportunities that provide for our quality of life.”

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce.



John Holland-Kaye speech text about those langoustines etc.               Read …. and weep …….

WHY on earth do we export langoustines to Singapore?  How many seas and oceans are there between Scotland and Singapore, that provide sea food?

WHY on earth is non-perishable chocolate  being air freighted?  It could go by sea.

Are these really the best examples that John Holland- Kaye can muster?  They seem to illustrate just how unnecessary this runway would be – for unnecessary and profoundly unsustainable air freight.  Madness ….  Utter irresponsibility – with no apparent awareness of the environmental consequences.


From the British Chambers of Commerce website, this is how they promote Heathrow events:

Event title

Heathrow Airport – One Hub or None

Chamber name

British Chambers of Commerce

Event type



The British Chambers of Commerce, in association with Heathrow Airport, has organised a national programme of events to hear business opinion on the aviation capacity debate.

New research from Frontier Economics has shown that the lack of capacity at Heathrow is already costing the UK up to £14bn a year in lost trade and this figure could rise to £26bn a year by 2030.

Participants will have the chance to:

•Hear what can be done to close the £14bn trade gap;
•Explore why a hub airport is different and uniquely valuable to the UK;
•Put their questions to Heathrow Airport’s executives;
•Share opinion on how this debate affects local business.






City chief slams Heathrow’s ‘desperate’ attempt to woo Manchester business leaders

23 November 2014

By Charlotte Cox (Manchester Evening News)
Heathrow Airport bosses have approached Greater Manchester business leaders to garner support for expansion in the south-east

Manchester’s town hall bosses have slammed a ‘desperate’ attempt by Heathrow bosses to get support for their expansion plans from Greater Manchester’s business community.

The country’s biggest airport has approached chambers of commerce across the north west offering each around £3,000 to fund events to pitch their case for a third runway.

Their bid is currently being considered by the Airports Commission against an option for Gatwick expansion.

A source at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce confirmed Heathrow had approached them hoping to woo up to 300 business leaders – but they declined the offer.

But 25 other chambers have agreed – costing Heathrow around £75,000 – before voting to support the country’s biggest hub’s bid for expansion.

Part of Heathrow’s pitch warned of the risk of losing connections from north west cities to Heathrow if expansion didn’t go ahead.

Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese described Heathrow’s approach as ‘desperate’.

He said: “I don’t think we should be supporting the Heathrow expansion plan.

“I think increasingly, evidence says that we don’t need the hub airport and what we ought to do is make better use of the network airports – including Manchester Airport.

“What you see is both Heathrow and Gatwick increasingly losing the argument and getting increasingly desperate – as shown in this case.”

Manchester council leader Sir Richard LeeseManchester council leader Sir Richard Leese
He added: “From Greater Manchester Chamber’s point of view it’s a very simple argument. Why do our members want to traipse down to London when they can use the airpot round the corner?”

On the chambers who voted to support the Heathrow bid, he added: “It’s right for them to try to gather evidence but I don’t think it’s sensible to come to a decision based on the unbalanced view they will get from Heathrow.”

He added: “Perhaps I ought to write to London Chamber of Commerce to set up a meeting for Manchester Airport.”

A Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce source said: “We were approached by Heathrow Airport to run an event for a number of businesses explaining how the expansion of Heathrow would be good for this region.

“However, we declined that as we believe that flights directly from Manchester Airport would serve the business community within the region better.

“We are not against the expansion of Heathrow but choose to actively support further use of Manchester.”

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airport has blasted the ‘unprecedented’ levels of government funding potentially needed for expanding Heathrow and Gatwick.

Manchester Airport chief executive Charlie Cornish
But MP Graham Stringer, for Blackley and Broughton, said the chamber was wrong to decline Heathrow’s offer.

He said: “Heathrow should get a third runway. The country needs a major hub airport which benefits the whole economy, and as a result Manchester.

“Manchester is not competing with Heathrow. I think Charlie Cornish has made a mistake by changing the policy.

“Constraining Heathrow send trade to France, Holland and Germany and that’s in nobody’s interest. It’s the worst kind of attitude that will damage Manchester.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Heathrow does not decide what routes go where, that is ultimately a commercial decision for the airlines. We have consistently argued however that regional airports should benefit from direct links to Heathrow. Those routes could better connect regional businesses with growth markets around the world, creating jobs and growth across the country.

“It is normal for Chambers to ask for a small amount of money to sponsor an event to help them to cover their costs and allow their members to hear about interesting policy issues. Many other companies and government bodies also do this so they can hear views directly from firms. Sponsorship covers payment for a venue, catering, marketing and arranging the event. We look forward to continuing to engage businesses on an issue which is vital to the economic prosperity of the whole of the UK.”

He added: “We were disappointed not to be able to make our case to businesses in Manchester, but respect the decision of their chamber of commerce to decline.”

25 Chambers that have voted to support expansion at Heathrow

East Lancashire
Kent Invicta
North East
North & Western Lancashire
South Wales
Thames Valley
West London Business
West & North Yorkshire
Kent Channel
West Cheshire & North Wales



Some of the Heathrow  One Hub or None – Breakfast Seminars

 Norfolk Chamber of Commerce event 2013


“Regenerate Pennine Lanchashre” event 2013


Hereford shire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce event. May 2014


Dorset Chamber of Commerce. September 2014


North and Western Chamber of Commerce


East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.  2013


Exeter Chamber of Commerce event.  2013


Liverpool Chamber of Commerce event 2013


…… and so on ……….. many more …………..






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Heathrow 3rd runway would affect south Buckinghamshire, especially Heathrow Hub impact on Iver area

People in south  Buckinghamshire are very concerned about the threat of an expanded Heathrow, and the impact it would have on the south of the county.  How badly they would be affected depends on whether a 3rd runway was built as Heathrow Airport Ltd wants, to the north west, or an extension of the northern runway, as Heathrow Hub wants. With either they face much more noise, and much more traffic. If the Heathrow Hub design was permitted, it includes plans for a transport hub near Iver (to the north west of the junction of the M25 and the M4.) It would mean building on green belt land between Richings Park and Iver village centre, with access to it from local roads.  Iver Parish Council are very concerned about the increased traffic, especially HGVs, which would change Iver massively. They have been given no proper information about how the traffic scheme would work, and there are real fears this would change Iver and Richings Park forever.  People in this area will be attending the large rally being held on 3rd March in central London, against a 3rd Heathrow runway.



How Heathrow growth could affect Buckinghamshire

11 February 2015

By Jack Abell (Get Bucks)


Map showing location of Iver


Map showing Heathrow Hub proposal for rail hub near Iver

Depending on where a potential third runway is built, South Bucks could face an increased number of flights each day, and Iver could even face the prospect of the M25 motorway being moved closer to the village in order to accommodate the new runway.

There is also the possibility of expanding [Heathrow, by the “Heathrow Hub” proposal] which could also affect Iver.

Proposals for the expansion [of Heathrow by either scheme – the airport’s north west runway or the Heathrow Hub extended northern runway]  both include the possibility of a [transport ]hub, which could take the form of either a station of a distribution centre, being built on green belt land between Richings Park and Iver village centre, with access to it from local roads.

Parish councl chairman Wendy Matthews said: “It could change Iver massively. Traffic generated by the hub, which would include a lot of HGVs, would be using narrow roads to get there, which would cause disruption, and there is no information about how this would work.”

She added: “There is also a big issue with increased noise which would affect a lot of South Bucks, so there’s a lot of strength of feeling on this.”

She added that other issues which could affect the area include air pollution and the potential cost of having to replace infrastructure.

The Airports Commission is now in the process of reading the responses it has received before making its recommendations later this year as to how the expansion of either airport should proceed and what changes, if any, should be made before any further progress is made.



Heathrow expansion will affect Bucks villages

21 January 2014 (Get Bucks)

Proposals could lead to the moving of the M25 close to Iver and Richings Park

PEOPLE living in Bucks village which could be greatly affected by Heathrow’s expansion plans will be given the chance to quiz airport officials at a public meeting.

Last month, the Airports Commission Interim Report was published, which detailed possible expansion options for Heathrow.

One of these involves building a new runway to the North West of Heathrow’s current site, and if this happened, it would mean changing the location of part of the M25, bringing it much closer to Iver and Richings Park.

This has caused great concern for people living in the area, and because of this, Iver Parish Council has arranged a public meeting with officials from Heathrow Ltd to explain the proposals further.

People will be able to ask questions of the staff at the meeting, while also discovering exactly how the area would be affected.

Parish council chairman Wendy Matthews said: “It is very worrying for people living here.

“It could change Iver and Richings Park forever, and so we need to have this meeting to have things explained to us properly.

“People need to come along and ask questions about it.

“We have already drawn up a list of points we want to raise, but it is very important that as many people as possible come along to the meeting.”

Another option mentioned involves extending the site’s northern runway to the west, which would involve building a sixth terminal between Iver and West Drayton.

Dr Matthews added: “Both of these proposals would have a huge effect on this area, so we need to get that message across at the meeting. These plans are a very big threat to Iver and Richings Park and it is very important that we find out more about them, and ask the right questions when we have the meeting.”

The meeting takes place at Richings Park Sports Club on Tuesday, February 4, at 7.30pm.



South Bucks people encouraged to rally against third runway

21 January 2015

By Jack Abell (Get Bucks)

PEOPLE living in South Bucks are being encouraged to go along to a rally later this year to protest against a third runway at Heathrow.

Britain’s biggest airport is keen to expand its site to include a new runway, and depending on where it decides to put it, the runway could have a major effect on people living in the area.

A major rally is being organised to take place in the capital on March 3 by people living near Heathrow to express concern at the plans.

Cabinet ministers, environmentalists, trade union leaders, party leaders and business leaders will join together to speak out against the plans.

It is being organised by the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), and is being designed to give people the chance to tell the government their views on a third runway ahead of the general election in May.

One of the areas which could be affected by a third runway if it is built is Iver, and the parish council has posted a notice on its website, encouraging people to attend the rally.

Speakers at the rally are set to include Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, leader of the Green party Natalie Bennett, former transport minister Steven Norris, John Sauven, chief executive of Greenpeace, and Andy Atkins, chief executive of Friends of the Earth.

The Airport Commission is in the process of assessing options for a new runway, and will report on its findings shortly after the general election.

The rally will go ahead on March 3 at 7pm at the Church House Conference Centre in Westminster.  DETAILS



NetworkRail plans for improved rail link to Heathrow T5 from the west, by tunnel, go on show

NetworkRail has put plans for consultation, for a new rail tunnel, connecting the main line into London from the west with Heathrow Terminal 5. The proposed link, subject to planning permission, includes a 3.1 mile (5km) tunnel from the Great Western Main Line at Langley to T5. This could cut journey times between Reading and Heathrow and reduce road congestion, if passengers travelled by train instead of by car. A series of public consultation events is to be held in Iver and Slough. The rail plan was given the go-ahead by the government in 2012. There would need to be a new junction created between Langley and Iver stations. There are claims that the rail link would mean a quarter of people in the UK “within one interchange” of Heathrow. The tunnel only travels under 2 houses so is not expected to cause too much disruption locally. The tunnel would go ahead regardless of whether there is a new runway, or not. It is expected the tunnelling would take a year. It has the potential to make journeys from the west faster and easier. The timetable is for informal consultation now; formal public consultation in summer 2015; submission of application in early 2016; work starts spring / summer 2017; work completed and trains running by the end of 2021.

Click here to view full story…




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Heathrow’s improved offer of £700 million for noise compensation, if there was a 3rd runway, wouldn’t help residents in many areas

On the last day of the Airports Commission consultation about its 3 short-listed runway schemes, Heathrow Airport came up with a new, more widespread and more generous offer of compensation against aircraft noise, IF it got a new runway. However, this offer is not to be offered to residents in many affected areas, including Bracknell, Ascot or Wokingham. The £700 million that Heathrow says it would spend on noise insulation etc would only be for homes judged the worst affected by noise – with no homes south of Wraysbury included. The number of homes eligible for offered compensation will depend on the final design of flight paths from an expanded Heathrow, and those are not yet known. Residents in Bracknell and Ascot, who have been incensed by the aircraft noise to which they have been subjected this year, say that even if they were offered compensation it still would not be enough, and it would not solve the problem. Heathrow claims that flight paths and use of airspace in the area has reverted to its pre-trail state, but residents believe it has not. People are now much more aware of aircraft noise, and their tolerance for it has declined – and they know that no amount of money would be enough to keep the level of noise outside the house down, in gardens, parks, playgrounds and streets. Many believe the increased Heathrow offer, and its timing, is merely a PR stunt. 


by Louise Hill  (Bracknell News)

COMPENSATION for homes blighted by aircraft noise will not be offered to residents around Bracknell, Ascot or Wokingham.

A pot of £700m to pay for noise insulation if a third runway were built at Heathrow will only be shared between homes judged the worst affected by noise – with no homes south of Wraysbury included.

……… and it continues.

Read the full article at

A rally against any expansion of Heathrow Airport will take place in London on Tuesday, March 3 at Church House Conference Centre in Deans Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3NZ, from 7pm



The Heathrow press release about their scheme:

Heathrow responds to calls for world – class noise insulation scheme

2 February, 2015 |(Heathrow press release)

– Meets public challenge to develop noise insulation scheme comparable to other European hub airports including Schiphol, Madrid, Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt

– New offering shaped by feedback from local public consultation

– Enhanced offer to cover all insulation costs for residents most affected by noise
Heathrow has today unveiled new plans to provide insulation to homes, if the Government gives planning approval for a third runway. The newly proposed scheme would cover a zone based on the 55 decibel noise contour[1], the preferred measure of noise used by the European Union and the Mayor of London.

This noise insulation offer goes above and beyond UK policy requirements, expands on Heathrow’s previous proposals and is comparable to those offered by other European hub airports. In total, Heathrow estimates that over £700 million could be spent through this insulation package, an increase of over £450 million from that previously offered by Heathrow in its May 2014 submission to the Airports Commission, and an increase of over £610 million from its previous proposals for a third runway.[2]

The scheme is based on two newly designated insulation zones, and residents would be eligible regardless of whether they experience noise under existing flight paths or will be newly affected by noise from a new runway. Under the proposed scheme, homes in the designated zone closest to the airport with higher levels of noise[3] stand to have the full costs of their noise insulation covered by the airport. In addition, up to £3,000 in noise insulation would be offered to homes further away from the airport.

A third party assessment, free of cost to homeowners, would be made to determine the extent of each home’s needs within the eligible insulation zones. Heathrow’s insulation package could include:

· Acoustic double glazing in windows

· Ceiling overboarding in bedrooms

· Loft insulation and ventilation

In total, over 160,000 homes could be eligible for insulation in areas from Windsor in the west to Richmond in the east. Over 35,000 homes in Hounslow alone would be eligible for full costs of the noise insulation package, with all homes in Heston and Cranford eligible. Similarly, all homes within the towns and villages of Wraysbury, Datchet, Sipson, Harmondsworth, Harlington, Colnbrook, Brands Hill and Stanwell Moor would be covered by the scheme.[4]

The improved noise insulation package follows public consultations held between 21st July and 12th October in 2014, in which people said that:

· The noise contours the airport uses should better reflect the actual noise levels experienced by local people

· A new insulation approach should treat people equally, whether they are already exposed to noise or newly exposed to noise

· The £250 million previously earmarked for noise and property compensation through expansion would not be sufficient

John Holland – Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow said:

“We designed the new approach to expanding Heathrow to minimise noise to local residents, but we also need to mitigate the impact on those who are still affected. Today’s announcement does that, and is based on the feedback we have received from local residents over the last few months; it will reduce the impact of noise, and treat local people fairly. Now we want to work with local communities to ensure that the opportunities from expansion – up to 40,000 new skilled jobs at Heathrow, 10,000 apprenticeships, tackling youth unemployment – benefit those who are most affected by expansion.”

This offer is subject to government policy support and regulatory approval by the CAA.



Notes to editors

[1]This zone is for people experiencing average levels of 55 decibels Lden over a 24 hour period. Lden is the preferred European measure of noise, and stands for the level of noise during the day, evening, and night. This measurement includes an additional weighting for noise during the evening and at night when it can be more disturbing. This zone also takes into account those homes who experience noise greater than 57 dB Leq noise levels, as averaged during a typical 16 hour day (7 am -11pm) of easterly or westerly operations.
[2] Heathrow already operates a range of compensation schemes with more than 40,000 properties eligible for some form of noise insulation.
[3] Households experiencing greater 60 dB Leq noise levels, as averaged during a typical 16 hour day (7 am -11pm) of easterly or westerly operations.
[4] The final number and location of these homes would be dependent on the design of routes around an expanded Heathrow and actual level of noise measured.




See also

On final day of Commission consultation, Heathrow raises extent of its noise insulation offer, if it gets a 3rd runway

As part of its attempt to get acceptance for a 3rd runway, Heathrow has had to raise its offer on noise insulation. On the last day of the Airports Commission consultation, it has made a significantly better offer, saying it “could” (sic) pay around £700 million – which is £450 million more than its previous offer in May 2014. This would cover parts of the 55 Lden noise contour area. The number of people within that contour was725,500 in 2006  and over 314,000 dwellings. Heathrow says their offer now covers about 160,000 homes, and they have included two new areas, not previously covered by their scheme (no map is published).Heathrow has now raised the quality of its noise insulation offer to match those already used in Europe – its current noise insulation offers are far below these. In its new scheme, Heathrow says homes in designated zones “stand to have” (not “will”) the ” full costs of their noise insulation covered by the airport. In addition, up to £3,000 in noise insulation would be offered to homes further away from the airport.” This would be acoustic double glazing; ceiling over-boarding in bedrooms; loft insulation and ventilation. Many noise affected homes already have double glazing and loft insulation … and still suffer noise. Gardens and parks cannot be insulated.  Campaigners said the improved offer was welcome, and should be carried out even if no runway is built, as it illustrates how poor and miserly the insulation schemes have been in the past.






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Manchester wants to persuade more in its catchment area not to fly via London airports

Manchester airport, the only UK airport apart from Heathrow to have two runways, had around 22 million passengers per year in 2005 and 2006, but then slumped down to a low point of 17.7 million by 2010.  Passenger numbers have now grown, to return to the high point of 2006, and Manchester airport is feeling confident.  It chief commercial officer says that their customers – leisure travellers and businesses – say they often prefer flying from Manchester, rather than having to travel to a London airport. However, around 4 million passengers from the airport’s catchment area still make the unnecessary journey to London airports every year.  Manchester hopes to encourage more routes and better frequency services, to win these passengers and deter them from using London.   He hopes this would help ease congestion at the London airport.   Manchester is hoping to win increasing numbers of passengers, and it has its “Airport City” project close to the airport and hopes to “bolster our city’s growing presence as an international business and leisure destination.” The Greater Manchester built up area is the 2nd largest in the UK, after London, with a population of about 2.6 million, compared to about 9.8 million in London. There is logic in using Manchester’s capacity rather than building another south east runway.


Opinion: Why choosing Manchester to fly from is the best option

9 February 2015

(Manchester Evening News)

Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG), looks forward to the year ahead and celebrates what has already been achieved

People and businesses in our extended catchment continue to tell us that when given the option, they prefer to fly from Manchester Airport.

We see that when we analyse where our customers originate from and in passenger numbers, which grew much faster than the UK average in 2014.

Despite this, around four million passengers from our catchment are still making the unnecessary journey to London airports every year.

Plugging this north-south migration is part of our focus and we are in regular discussions with our existing 65 and dozens of prospective airline customers, to add additional routes and frequency that would help meet this demand.

We don’t believe that this would be to the detriment of airports in the south east – in fact, if anything, it will help ease congestion there.

As our national role evolves, we must also continue to be forward thinking and ensure that we have robust plans in place for the future, including further investment in infrastructure.

In recent months, Manchester has collected a number of accolades including for best airport in the UK, as voted for by airlines and travel agents.

However we are not resting on our laurels and as we enter what is effectively uncharted territories, now we have exceeded the 22 million passenger barrier, [Manchester had over 22 million passengers in 2005 and in 2006, and fell back to a low point of 17.7 million passengers in 2010] we need to ensure our terminals and facilities can handle the extra people and planes.

On a similar front, we expect that further developments at our exciting Airport City project will come to fruition, following on from the example set by DHL which has opened its new facility on the site.

This project brings something unique in the UK directly to our door here in Manchester and as well as the benefits of the investment in the local area and the creation of new jobs, it will continue to strengthen the airport’s offer to airlines.

Looking beyond the airport and into the city itself, the arrival of the Rugby World Cup, the return of Manchester International Festival, and the huge number of businesses and people based here, continue to bolster our city’s growing presence as an international business and leisure destination.

The continued development of the city and its key role in the ‘northern powerhouse’ has a symbiotic relationship with the airport, whose success is intertwined with the development of our catchment.

We are therefore delighted to contribute to increased visitor numbers which are helping fill the city’s bars, hotels, pubs, clubs and restaurants, and support economic growth.

We want to do more to encourage people to use our airport and will do everything we can to achieve this.


CAA figures:       CAA airport statistics

Terminal Passengers:  

UK Airport Statistics – annual- each year  (Table 10.3)
2014     21,950,323  (Up +6.1% on 2013)
2013     20,682,907  (Up + 5.2% on 2012)
2012     19,654,100  (up + 4.5% on 2011)
2011     18,807,000  (up + 6% on 2010)
2010    17,663,000 (down – 5% on 2009)
2009    18,631,242  (down – 11.5% from 2008)
2008    21,063.000  (down  – 4% from 2007)
2007    21,892,000  (down – 1% from 2006)

2006    22,124 2005

2005    22,083,000

2000   18,349,000

1997   15,726,000

1996    14,467,000

1995    14,514,000

Air Transport Movements

Number of ATMs
UK Airport Statistics – annual each year (Table 4.2)  ATMs
2014    162,921 (Up + 1.2% on 2013)
2013    161,063 (Up + 0.4% on 2012)
2012    160,473 (up  1.55 on 211)
2011    158,000 (up + 6%  on 2010)
2010    149,000  (down -8% on 2009)    link to 2010 data
2009   162,182  (down  – 15.2% from 2008)
2008    191,000  (down   – 7% from 2007)
2007    207,000   (down – 3%  from 2006)

2006    213 2005




The largest urban areas in the UK

1. Greater London Built-up area   9,787,426 people (2011 census)
London Boroughs, Hemel Hempstead, Watford, Woking, Harlow, St Albans, Bracknell2. Greater Manchester Built-up area   2,553,379 people
Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Trafford, Tameside3. West Midlands Built-up area  2,440,986 people

Birmingham, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Dudley, Walsall, Solihull

4. West Yorkshire Built-up area  1,777,934 people

Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Keighley, Halifax.

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National Trust claims Gatwick expansion would harm Wakehurst Place – and other historic properties

Wakehurst Place is a beautiful stately home in Sussex, owned by the National Trust. It is the country part of Kew Gardens botanical garden, with the world’s largest seed conservation project.  The wonderful old house has been used in many films.  It is now one of the 13 historic properties that the National Trust says could be affected by a new Gatwick runway. These also include Penshurst Place in Kent, which was used as a location for current BBC Tudor drama “Wolf Hall.”  The National Trust said it was “highly sceptical” about proposed expansions to either Gatwick or Heathrow in its submission to the Airports Commission. The NT believes any airport expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick would increase noise impact to residents and affect how people spend their leisure time.  It has an impact on visitors to these historic and  unique buildings. It also said it could affect filming possibilities at the venues because of increased aircraft noise.  Hever Castle (former home of Anne Boleyn) is also very badly affected by noise from Gatwick landings, with real fears of reduced visitor numbers, if the amount of aircraft noise prevents the visit being a pleasant and peaceful experience.


National Trust claims Gatwick expansion would harm Wakehurst Place


The response by the National Trust to the Airports Commission consutation is here 

National Trust response to Airports Commission


A STATELY home used in the latest BBC period blockbluster is among a number of historical sites set to lose out should Gatwick get the go ahead for a second runway, a conservation group has claimed.

The National Trust has listed 13 attractions that could be affected by an expanded Gatwick including Wakehurst Place near Haywards Heath and Penshurst Place in Kent which was used as a location for current BBC hit drama Wolf Hall.

he body said it was “highly sceptical” about proposed expansions to either Gatwick or Heathrow in its submission to the Airports Commission which is currently evaluating the best option to expand the UK’s airport capacity.

The National Trust said any airport expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick would increase noise impact to residents and affect how people spend their leisure time, according to claims reported in The Sunday Times.

It also said it could affect filming possibilities at the venues because of increased aircraft noise.

A Gatwick spokesman said a new runway would not necessarily increase noise at historic venues such as Hever House in Kent which is on the airport’s flight path and that studies were being carried out at ways of reducing the number of flights going over the former castle of Anne Boleyn.

Wakehurst place location

Wakehurst Place  – Botanical garden with the world’s largest seed conservation project

Open throughout the year, Wakehurst is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The varied landscape is of international significance for its beautiful botanic gardens and tree collections, as well as for its science-based plant conservation and research.

A feast for the senses, Wakehurst features natural woodland and lakes, formal gardens, an Elizabethan house (five unfurnished rooms) and the 21st-century architecture of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

Wakehurst marks an international conservation milestone in 2010, having conserved seeds from ten per cent of the world’s plant species.

Wakehurst Place is leased from the National Trust and is managed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. More info on their website here.




See also

Gatwick 2nd runway aircraft noise could threaten Hever Castle – it harms the visitor experience

Hever Castle – the childhood home of Anne Boleyn – near Edenbridge in Kent fears increased aircraft noise, from  Gatwick planes,  could deter people from visiting the attraction. The chief executive of Hever, Duncan Leslie, said: “If they increased aeroplanes I would be surprised if this business survived long term.”  The noise is already bad, though Gatwick is 21 miles away, and a 2nd runway  could make the situation worse. Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, lived at Hever, which dates back to 1270.  The relentless aircraft noise, with planes some  3 – 4,000 feet overhead,  detracts from the experience of Hever, and for much of the day with a westerly wind, there is a plane about once a minute. Alastair McDermid, Gatwick’s airports commission director, said a new runway would be to the south of the existing one and would not necessarily increase noise at Hever. Gatwick is holding a consultation at present, and has done 16 exhibitions about it. However, they have chosen not to give any details on flight paths, which has caused a lot of annoyance.



2nd Gatwick runway could ‘spell the end’ for Hever Castle as a tourist attraction due to the relentless aircraft noise


A 2nd runway at Gatwick could “spell the end” for one of the area’s top tourist attractions, Hever Castle, which was the home of Anne Boleyn. The castle’s chief executive Duncan Leslie fears the increase in planes overhead could ruin the historic castle and gardens, due to the relentless, almost non-stop noise. To make the situation still worse, planes enter the airport’s ILS landing system close to Hever, and tend to come up into it from below, with extra engine  noise, especially if simultaneously making a turn.  Duncan Leslie explained that when visitors come to rural attractions they are expecting a degree of peace and tranquillity. However, with the flight path for Gatwick – just some 13 miles away – over the castle and its grounds, visitors are being deterred. Already putting on outdoor theatre is almost impossible, as the plays are interrupted every couple of minutes. A group of Chinese tour operators visiting Hever had said they were astonished that the Government allowed aircraft to fly low over Hever. A high proportion of Hever’s visitors are from overseas. Mr Leslie said: “If our internationally popular tourist attractions become noise ghettoes, it does not matter how big the airports are, we will not get more tourists coming here.”  Mr Leslie has asked his local council, Sevenoaks, to oppose Gatwick’s plans for a 2nd runway.






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Bromley Council consultation on Biggin Hill Airport’s plans to greatly increase operating hours, especially at weekends

Biggin Hill airport is predominantly used by light aviation and business jets. It has operating hours at present of 6.30am to 10pm on weekdays, and 9am to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. However, the airport is now hoping to extend these significantly, by one hour more on weekdays, five and a half hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays. That would be a total of 114 hours per week. Local residents are very unhappy about this, and the local group, BRAAD (Bromley Residents Against Airport Development) is urging people to oppose this expansion, in the current consultation – which ends on on 13th March. BRAAD says Bromley is a peaceful residential borough, which attracts families from noisier environments because of the quality of life it has so far offered. However, Biggin Hill Airport has now expanded to the point of threatening the delicate balance between its business aspirations and the residents’ rights to their amenities.  The 114 hours proposed by Biggin Hill is much more than its rival private jet airports (London City, Farnborough, or Northolt – an the increase is largely at weekends, early in the morning and late at night,  when people may find the noise even more intrusive.

Bromley Residents Against Airport Development

London Borough of Bromley announce the start of the Public Consultation!

BRAAD oppose further expansion at Biggin Hill Airport, situated in the borough of Bromley.

Bromley is a peaceful residential borough, which attracts families from noisier environments because of the quality of life it has so far offered. However, Biggin Hill Airport has now expanded to the point of threatening the delicate balance between its business aspirations and the residents’ rights to their amenities.

The aeroplanes flying over us at low altitude are (among others) the ones we show on the right. On 16th January 2015 Bromley Council launched a consultation about the Airport’s application to increase operating hours to 114 hours per week, more than any of its competitors, weighing heavily on the unsocial hours of early morning, late night and weekends (there would be 9.5 extra hours during the weekend alone).


BRAAD have read the legal Airport’s proposal document: NONE of the major pledges made by the Airport are legally binding or enforceable BUT the concession from the Council would be, for the remaining 104 years of the Lease.

See the BRAAD leaflet on the Biggin Hill proposal


Reasons to object:

1) similar operating hours were rejected twice on a temporary basis during the Olympics. Why would Bromley Council now approve them on a permanent basis?

2) the proposed extended hours are at the most unsocial times, early mornings, late nights and during the weekends.

3) Biggin Hill Airport’s competitors close earlier – we would have other London traffic over us at the most unsocial hours.

4) Bromley is predominantly a residentail borough. The large planes which the airport is already allowed to host, in addition to longer hours at unsocial times, would totally change the nature of the Eastern part of the borough. OR

5) Employment would not go to local residents. Companies would move in with their own specialised employees and Bromley Council would have to use more of the residents’ money to provide infrastucture, housing, schools and services.

6) The airport is already profitable and the Council has already done enough to subsidise it both financially (£1.5 million for runway improvements in the 1990s, a grant of £400,000 in 2006/07, installation of the Instrument Landing System to runway 21 and now allocation of £3.5m for the developement of the aviation college – did we not hear that the Airport was providing that?) and with loose operating terms – now it is time that the council looks after its residents.

7) The mitigating factors that the Airport suggests are only by ‘reasonable endeavours’ but the Council would legally bind the residents to 114 hours per week until the expiry of the Lease (still 104 years to go!)

8) The noise reduction measures that the Airport is offering are only limited to light aircraft (i.e. hobby and training schools), which are decreasing in numbers becaust the Airport intends increasingly to fly larger aircraft (737- or equivalent – size)

9) It turns out that the pledge to ‘fly higher for longer’ cannot be kept because it depends on Gatwick’s consent. Will Gatwick consent while it is involved in a bid for a second runway, competing with Heathrow? We believe it is very unlikely. Certainly, in spite of months of negotiation, such consent does not appear to be forthcoming

10) Also their Noise Action Plan only relates to ‘airport contours’ (a very small area) and does not take into account overflying of many residential towns and take-offs, which are going to be noisier as the larger aeroplanes the Airport intend to fly need more power to climb. Even so, the Airport only offers to ‘assess progress’ once every five years. Not soon then!

11) The Airport offers no restrictions on flying the noisiest and most annoying type of aircraft (helicopters) at night or during the weekend. Nor it shows any intention of banning the Piaggio Avanti so many residents have complained about.

on the two questions of the consultation by Bromley Council

Remember to include your name and address, without which communications will not be accepted by the Council

The consultation is online at the following link:

You can also write to Bromley Council
By e-mail:
By letter: Airport Consultation Group, London Borough of Bromley,
Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH.

Don’t forget your councillors! Please let them know of your objections so they are aware.


Biggin Hill Airport’s Opening Times at present


06.30 – 22.00


09.00 – 20.00


BIGGIN HILL   has requested an increase to  114 hours per week


6.30 – 23.00   (ie. one hour more per day)


6.30 – 23.00  (ie. five and a half hours more per day)


8.00 – 23.00  (ie. four hours more per day)



The BRAAD (Bromley Residents Against Airport Development) website says:

The Airport propose a massive 114 hour week. 

They want to stay open until 11pm every day, including Saturdays and Sundays while every other competing airport in the South East (City, Northolt and Farnborough) stops much earlier.



(AS REQUESTED):  114 hours per week

6.30 – 23.00 Mon-Fri

6.30 – 23.00 Sat

8.00 – 23.00 Sun

NORTHOLT AIRPORT:  72 hours per week

8.00 – 20.00 Mon-Fri

8.00 – 14.00 Sat

12.00 – 18.00 Sun

LONDON CITY AIRPORT: 93 hours per week

6.30 – 22.00  Mon-Fri

6.30 – 12.30    Sat

12.30 – 22.00  Sun

FARNBOROUGH: 99 hours per week

7.00- 22.00 Mon-Fri

8.00 -20.00 Sat

8.00 -20.00 Sun


BRAAD says:

Biggin Hill used to be a friendly airport, used mainly by hobby aircraft and private flying. The flight paths have remained unchanged since the 1960s (see link ).

Until recently, the residents and the Airport have co-existed relatively amicably but that may no longer be so.

The current airport operator, Biggin Hill Airport Limited (BHAL), has pursued a fast expansion plan, which does not sit comfortably with the location of the airport, for several reasons:

– the historic flight paths overfly large residential areas, in a borough that professes to put the amenitiess of the residents at the core of its policies.

– Against this context, the increasing size of aeroplanes has become more and more unwelcome. The business jets that the Airport increasingly operates are built on the bodies of aircraft such as the Boeing 737, the Airbus 319 and the Bombardier Global Express, amongst others – you can see the images on the Home page of the BRAAD website.

–  The air and noise pollution created by landings and take-offs by large aeroplanes has become unacceptably unhealthy for the residents in the vicinity … and continues to increase

– This is a small private airport, that has enjoyed grants and subsidies from Bromley Council. Our money has subsidised a private enterprise of modest relevance in terms of local employment for our borough and increasingly disruptive of our environment. This must stop.

Please join us in asking the Council to protect our residential borough from further development of a commercial airport.

VOTE NO AND NO on the online consultation

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NetworkRail plans for improved rail link to Heathrow T5 from the west, by tunnel, go on show

NetworkRail has put plans for consultation, for a new rail tunnel, connecting the main line into London from the west with Heathrow Terminal 5.  The proposed link, subject to planning permission, includes a 3.1 mile (5km) tunnel from the Great Western Main Line at Langley to T5.  This could cut journey times between Reading and Heathrow and reduce road congestion, if passengers travelled by train instead of by car.  A series of public consultation events is to be held in Iver and Slough.  The rail plan was given the go-ahead by the government in 2012. There would need to be a new junction created between Langley and Iver stations. There are claims that the rail link would mean a quarter of people in the UK “within one interchange”  of Heathrow. The tunnel only travels under 2 houses so is not expected to cause too much disruption locally. The tunnel would go ahead regardless of whether there is a new runway, or not.  It is expected the tunnelling would take a year.  It has the potential to make journeys from the west faster and easier.  The timetable is for informal consultation now;  formal public  consultation in summer 2015; submission of application in early 2016; work starts spring / summer 2017; work completed and trains running by the end of 2021.



Heathrow rail link plans to go on show

6.2.2015 (BBC)

The scheme is aimed at reducing journey times to Heathrow from the west.


Rail link mapThe proposed link includes a 3.1 mile (5km) tunnel from the Great Western Main Line to Heathrow Terminal 5

Plans for a new £500m rail link connecting the main line into London from the west with Heathrow Airport are going on public show.

The proposed link, subject to planning permission, includes a 3.1 mile (5km) tunnel from the Great Western Main Line to Heathrow Terminal 5.

Network Rail said it would cut journey times between Reading and Heathrow and reduce road congestion.

A series of public consultation events is to be held in Iver and Slough.

Given the go-ahead by the government in 2012, the plan would save up to 30 minutes for passengers travelling from south Wales, the west of England and the Thames Valley on the Great Western main line.

The line would turn off at a newly-created junction created between Langley and Iver stations and go through a tunnel to Heathrow Terminal 5.


Paul Clifton – BBC South Transport Correspondent

The promises are huge: 42,000 new jobs, £800m a year of new investment and journey times into Heathrow from Reading and Swindon halved.

The 5km rail link would bring one in four people in the UK within one interchange of the airport.

The new tracks branching off the Great Western line east of Slough should attract little opposition: the tunnel would dive beneath just two houses on its way to the existing station beneath Heathrow’s Terminal Five.

And this project would go ahead regardless of what happens to the current debate about building a new runway.

The only surprise is that the link was not built years ago.

Tunnelling would take a year, with the first passengers boarding a train at the end of 2021.

Business leaders say foreign investors will be able to arrive at Heathrow and turn left to new jobs in the Thames Valley, instead of having to turn right into congested central London.

But perhaps taxi drivers in Reading will be less pleased – companies there currently spend £10m a year being driven to the airport.


Patrick Hallgate of Network Rail said: “We are keen to seek the views of local communities and passengers on our plans for a new link to Heathrow.

“It will open opportunities for thousands of businesses, enabling them to become more competitive and increasing economic growth.”

Ruth Bagley, chief executive of Slough Borough Council, said it would address the “poor connectivity” of Heathrow to the west.

“Whether it is the thousands of people who work at the airport, the businesses which rely on global connectivity to drive economic growth and create jobs, or other airport passengers, I’m confident that this will deliver a step change in the quality and reliability of journeys,” she said.

“It will also relieve congestion on the roads and bring significant environmental benefits, too.”

If the plans are approved, it is expected the new service would be in operation by 2021.



08457 11 41 41

Dates Consultation is Open

Runs from 9 Feb 2015 to 1 Apr 2015



Heathrow timeline

  1. Early 2015: Informal public consultation
  2. Summer 2015: Formal public consultation
  3. Early 2016: Submission of application
  4. Spring / Summer 2017: Work to start on site
  5. End of 2021: Work complete / trains running



Network Rail says:

Improving rail links to Heathrow


A new direct rail link connecting the west to Heathrow will improve passenger journeys to the UK’s busiest airport and help to increase economic productivity across the Thames Valley.

We are developing plans for a new rail tunnel leaving the Great Western main line between Langley and Iver to London Heathrow, allowing passengers to travel to the airport from Reading via Slough without going into Paddington station.

The investment will help to:

For passengers:

  • Reduce journey times via rail between Reading and Heathrow Airport
  • Provide direct trains between Reading and Heathrow
  • Improve access to Heathrow from the South coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands
  • Reduce congestion at Paddington station


Wider benefits

  • Provide over £800 million worth of UK economic activity, including additional economic benefits to for the region
  • Create potential for 42,000 new jobs
  • Make CO2 savings equating to 1 million road passenger journeys
  • Give 20% of the UK population access to Heathrow via one interchange
  • Help to provide much need congestion relief for the M4, M25 and M3 motorways


The Plans

This direct rail link will allow passengers throughout the west to travel to the airport from Reading via Slough without having to change at Paddington station.

Proposed alignment for the tunnel.  Click on the image to download a larger version of the map

This will make journeys faster, improve access to Heathrow and provide significant economic benefits for the growing number of businesses in the Thames Valley region and beyond.

We’re planning to build a tunnel (comprised of two smaller tunnels) approximately 5km long, connecting with the Great Western main line at a new junction between Langley and Iver stations.

The new line would travel above ground for approximately 250 metres before entering the tunnel, which would connect to existing platforms at Heathrow Terminal 5. At its shallowest the tunnel could be approximately 10m below ground and at its deepest around 30m, with a diameter in the region of 6-7m.



The scheme is expected to take around four years to complete. Construction compounds will be necessary and once tunnelling work begins, working hours are expected to be a 24-hour operation.

Proposed location of construction compounds and haul roads.  Click on the image below to download a larger version of the map:

To build the tunnel, a significant amount of earth will need to be removed from the site. We’re currently exploring the best ways to do this by rail and road.

Noise and vibration

Throughout construction and once trains start running we will closely monitor any potential impact of the new tunnel on the surrounding area, making sure we put in place measures to protect any properties where necessary.

Further detail on the construction strategy and timescales will be available at the next phase of consultation.

Keeping road and rail moving

During construction we may need to alter the local road network, particularly at Hollow Hill Lane where the new rail link will leave the existing railway. Station facilities such as car parking may also need to be reviewed to accommodate the potential increase in passenger numbers. We are currently talking to the local authorities about these matters.

There may be times when sections of the railway are closed to allow safe working. Where closures are required we’ll work with the train operators to keep passengers informed and where possible provide alternative means of transport. Further information on road and rail impacts will be available at the next phase of consultation.


At Network Rail, we work hard to reduce our impact on the environment and put rail at the heart of a low carbon economy. A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be carried out before the plans are finalised.

Topics we will look at will include (amongst others):

• Surface Water and Flood Risk

• Hydrogeology

• Contaminated Land

• Waste and Spoil Disposal

• Traffic and Transport

• Noise and Vibration

• Socio Economic Effects



Have your say

We’re keen to hear from as many local residents and rail users as possible.

You can fill in our online feedback form by clicking below, or you can send us an email at:

To register in interest in the scheme you can also call the national helpline on                      08457 11 4141.







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All Party Parliamentary Group analysis shows a 3rd runway at Heathrow would be at the expense of surrounding airports

The All-Party Parliamentary Group of MPs (APPG)  has submitted a report to the Airports Commission (and to the Government) showing that, according to the Commission’s own figures, there would be no overall increase in the number of UK passengers, flights or destinations as a result of a 3rd Heathrow runway. Instead, any increased activity at Heathrow airport itself would be fed almost entirely by re-distributing growth from other UK airports. This would me an more activity at Heathrow at the expense of regional airports, customers and the wider economy. The All Party Parliamentary Group’s  “Wider Economy” Reports raise serious doubts about there being any net benefit to the wider UK economy, or to the regions, from a new Heathrow runway. It suggests the runway could even have a significant negative impacts on them.  The Commission’s figures show that with or without an extra runway at Heathrow, the growth rate of the UK passenger market from 2030 to 2050 is anticipated to be 1.4% per annum.  It is predicted that a 3rd runway would cause a reduction of 207,000 flights per year, to and from regional airports by 2050. The total number of destination airports for flights from UK airports might also be lower, if there is a 3rd Heathrow runway.


Figures show that increased activity from a third runway at Heathrow would be at the expense of surrounding airports

2.2.2015  (All Party Parlimentary Group)

The Reports:  All Party Parliamentary Group – Wider Economy Report

and  APPG  – Wider Economy Report – Passenger distribution 

A new report by a committee of MPs has revealed that figures relating to passenger forecasts in the Airports Commission own consultation document ‘Strategic Fit Forecasts’ demonstrate there would be no overall increase in the number of UK passengers, flights or destinations as a result of Heathrow’s expansion. Instead, the increased activity at Heathrow airport would be fed almost entirely by re-distributing growth from other UK airports and in particular the regional airports.

The report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) ‘The Wider Economy – Impact of Heathrow Airport’s expansion on the number and distribution of UK passengers and destinations’ contradicts the predictions of growth from Heathrow and raises serious doubts about there being any net benefit to the wider UK economy brought about by Heathrow’s expansion. It suggests expansion of Heathrow could have a significant negative impact on the regions and the overall efficiency of the UK economy.

For this analysis, the APPG looked at the five economic scenarios of Heathrow expansion presented by the Commission in their consultation document. The Committee then focused on creating one average outcome while recognising possible variations around this case. The Airports Commission have not given any probability as to which case, out of the five cases, is most likely.

The results from the APPG analysis of the Commission figures show that with or without an extra runway at Heathrow, the growth rate of the UK passenger market from 2030 to 2050 is predicted to be 1.4% per annum. This raises questions as to whether the expansion of Heathrow will contribute to the wider UK economy.

According to the Commission’s predictions, when looking at the impact of Heathrow expansion on the wider network, it is predicted that a third runway would cause a reduction of 207,000 regional flights a year to and from regional airports by 2050. Aligned with this, the number of destinations served by UK airports could actually increase from 361 in 2011 to 402 in 2050 if Heathrow were not to expand. However, if Heathrow expanded the Commission assumes that the number of destinations will be slightly lower in 2050 with 401 destinations served by UK airports, again due to the reduction in growth from regional airports.

The APPG report also notes that international transfer passengers represent a large incremental addition to Heathrow’s forecast passenger demand but that there is little evidence in regards to their value to the UK economy

The report has been issued the day after the Airports Commission’s public consultation closed. This is the Commission’s final consultation before it announces its recommendation as to whether Heathrow or Gatwick should be granted another runway.

Speaking about the launch of the report, the Chair of the APPG, Zac Goldsmith MP said “figures produced by the Airports Commission itself show that any additional activity at an expanded Heathrow would be at the expense of surrounding airports and wouldn’t be additional. In other words, a third runway would simply centralise activity. The only real effect of cobbling together the old monopoly would be to reduce competition and choice for travellers. It’s hardly a compelling reason to subject an additional 300,000 new people to Heathrow’s noise.”


Notes to the Editor:

APPG reports

All Party Parliamentary Group Wider Economy Report – Questions raised by the APPG on the Airports Commission’s Consultation


APPG  – The Wider Economy Report  – Impact of Heathrow Airport’s expansion on the number and distribution of UK passengers and destinations 


 Airports Commission consultation

Members of the APPG on Heathrow and the Wider Economy:

§ Zac Goldsmith MP – Chair

§ John Randall MP – Vice Chair

§ Baroness Hamwee – Vice Chair

§ Jenny Tonge – Treasurer

§ John McDonnell MP – Secretary

§ Mary McLeod MP

§ Bob Blackman MP

§ Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP

§ Lord Chris Holmes

§ Lord True

§ Angie Bray MP

§ John Cryer MP

§ Virendra Sharma MP

§ Andy Slaughter MP

§ Seema Malhotra MP

§ Lord Faulkner

§ Joan Walley MP

§ Kate Hoey MP

§ Baroness Jenny Jones

§ Caroline Lucas MP

§ Dan Byles MP

§ Sir Gerald Howarth MP

§ Lord Soley





The All Party Parliamentary Group also produced these reports, as parts of its response to the Airports Commission:

All Party Parliamentary Group Surface Access – 2.2.2015

All Party Parliamentary Group – Noise-Report – 18.12.2014




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NATS to introduce “Time Based Separation” (TBS) at Heathrow to cut delays in windy conditions

Heathrow Airport is close to its maximum number of flights per year (480,000) and its runways take close to the most flights they can, most of the day. During periods when there is strong wind, there are currently often flight delays -causing inefficiency.  Aircraft fly more slowly in relation to the ground (groundspeed) against a headwind, though the plane may be flying at the same speed as usual, in relation to the air (airspeed).  Now NATS is introducing a system, called Time Based Separation (TBS), which it has been working on for some years. The aim is to reduce delays in windy conditions, so as many planes can land per hour as in still conditions, even if it is windy. The system works by separating arriving aircraft by time, rather than by distance.  The separation distances are needed because of the wake vortices that planes generate – which can be dangerous for a following aircraft. However, the stronger the wind, the more rapidly a vortex is dissipated, so a smaller separation distance can be used. The Time Based Separation system will allow fewer delays during windy conditions, so more efficient operation.  The system will start to be used at Heathrow at the end of March 2015 and NATS hope the system will be used at other capacity constrained airports around the world.



Time Based Separation


Diagram from NATS leaflet at                                                                              

Time Based Separation


including a short film about it

Time Based Separation (TBS) will come into operation at Heathrow Airport from the end of March 2015. The system being installed for Heathrow has been jointly developed by NATS and Lockheed-Martin and will be a world first implementation of Time Based Separation. TBS is expected to become the norm for capacity constrained airfields in the coming years.

The Time Based Separation system and procedures are expected to significantly reduce inbound Air Traffic Flow Management and airborne holding delays that result from the impact of headwinds on final approach.

With fixed distance separation between aircraft on final approach, when the headwind component increases, the groundspeed drops resulting in a reduced landing rate. This leads to increased airborne holding and delays.

Time Based Separation dynamically adjusts the separation between arrivals to maintain time separation equivalent to the distance separation with a headwind of 5-7 knots. By doing so, the reduced approach separation recovers most of the lost capacity from headwinds.

In order to prove that it is safe to apply time based separation, we measured the wake vortex using LIDAR equipment for over 150,000 flights at Heathrow including all aircraft types over a period of nearly 5 years. This data clearly shows that as the headwind component increases, the wake vortex decays faster and has allowed us to develop a new set of rules for Time Based separation, which take into account the aircraft wake vortex category and the effect of headwind on vortex decay.

Time Based Separation operates in all wind conditions, reducing the separation between arrivals as the headwind component increases and increasing the separation in still winds or tailwind conditions.

These Time based separation rules have full regulatory approval and replace the existing ICAO distance based wake separation standards for Heathrow.

Crew Procedures & Briefing

Crew Fact Sheet

With Time Based Separation there is little or no change to the flight deck procedures as the aircraft will still be radar vectored on to final approach in the same way that they are today and with the same speeds. The main difference is that final approach separation used by ATC is time based. In practice this means that aircraft may be seen to be closer on TCAS in headwind conditions but the time separation will be constant. It is important to maintain ATC assigned speeds as accurately as possible to deliver the maximum benefit from TBS.

This page provides background to Time Based Separation for flight crew including a short video which describes the context, a briefing sheet and the associated Aeronautical Publications. In addition NATS has produced other media which help describe the concept and background and these can be accessed via the links on this page.


NATS Crew Fact Sheet on Time Based Separation



A new way to stop the gridlock in the skies


British air traffic controllers have invented a new system that could eventually cut flight delays all over the world.

The principle is simple enough. Planes coming into land will be spaced out by time, rather than by distance. But it has taken a team at NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Control Services) four years of scientific study to make sure it is safe, and Heathrow is about to become the first airport on the planet to test it out.

It all comes down to wind.

Wind is the biggest single cause of landing delays at London’s Heathrow airport, messing up flights on around 65 days each year.

If airliners are fighting against a headwind, even if they maintain the same speed through the air, they take longer to reach the runway. And that creates delays.

Think of it like this. If you’re walking the wrong way down an escalator, and the escalator speeds up while you keep walking at the same speed, it takes you longer to reach the bottom. A strong wind acts like a quicker escalator.

The new Time-Based Separation (TBS) system simply moves the aircraft closer together, thus cutting those delays.

“On windy days we lose around eight aircraft movements an hour – that is every hour through the day,” says Paul Haskins from NATS. “With time-based spacing we should see a lot fewer delays and lower holding, and hopefully a far more resilient operation in strong wind conditions.”

Spacing and speed

At the moment, air traffic controllers give planes a speed limit as they approach the runway at Heathrow – 160 knots (184mph) from four miles out. It gives pilots time to get set for landing, put the wheels down, arrange the flaps.

That won’t change.

So if they are going at the same speed, surely they will take the same amount of time to reach the lip of the runway, regardless of the wind?

It doesn’t work like that.

Because aircraft work in three dimensions, they measure their speed through the air, not their speed across the ground. And air moves, in pockets.

Graph displaying how the new time based system can achieve a landing rate of 36-40 aircraft per hour

So when you are flying back across the Atlantic, the speed indicator on the flight deck might be saying 500 knots, but a tailwind could be pushing you at 550 knots over the water. You’re flying at 500 knots relative to the air around you, but 550 knots relative to the water.


The new system all comes down to vortices. A vortex is a dangerous spiral of air churned up by an aircraft as it cuts through the sky. If you fly through one, pilots can temporarily lose control of the plane. That is why air traffic controllers leave big gaps between flights.

With bigger aircraft, like the behemoth Airbus A380, they leave a space of six or seven nautical miles to the next plane. With the relative tiddlers, like the Boeing 737, it’s more likely to be three nautical miles.

But NATS has worked out that strong headwinds smooth out these dangerous swirls of air much more quickly. So it’s actually safe for the aircraft to fly closer together if it’s windy.

Wind changes all the time. It gusts. That’s why sensors on the aircraft are constantly feeding the latest wind information to the ground, to make sure the system is working everything out properly.

To give an idea of the impact that can have, on a normal day at Heathrow, you’d get around 40-45 landings per hour. At the moment, if it’s windy, that might reduce to as little as 32. But with the new system, you can get that rate back up to 40 landings per hour.

Why Heathrow?

Heathrow is full. They are not legally allowed to process any more flights per year, having reached their government imposed cap of 480,000 take-offs and landings. It’s the main reason they argue that they need a new runway.

What it means though is that there is very little wiggle room during the day to squeeze in more flights if they have delays early on. At Gatwick, or any of the other big UK airports, things get quieter after the morning rush hour, which allows them some space to catch-up following any problems.

Heathrow doesn’t have that kind of slack, which means that they are more likely to cancel flights if, for example, the wind picks up and their hourly landing rate drops-off.

Hence, this new system is especially useful for them, and for any other busy airport.

NATS wants to sell its new system across the globe. They say there are currently 25 airports that, just like Heathrow, are pushing the limits of their capacity.

How close is close?

TBS will mean aircraft flying closer together on windy days. But how much closer?

Let’s say, on a normal day in normal weather, an Airbus A380 is told to fly six nautical miles away from the next aircraft. It would take the airliner 135 seconds to cover that distance.

Now let’s say there’s a strong headwind. The Airbus would take an additional 25 seconds to cover the same distance. Under the new system, controllers will forget the distance gap, and tell the aircraft to maintain the same time gap, 135 seconds. It puts the planes nearly one nautical mile closer together (5.1nm) but because of the wind, it should be perfectly safe.


Despite the four years of scientific testing, some people, possibly even including pilots, might be nervous if they hear that aircraft are flying closer together. To make sure the system was safe, it was exhaustively tested.

That meant firing a laser into the air above Heathrow as thousands of aircraft came into land. The equipment measured the size of the vortex and how long it took to lose its sting. Engineers checked 150,000 different flights and that was enough to convince the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to approve the new system.

NATS is introducing time-based landings at Heathrow from March this year.

By their estimate, it could save an airline £6-7m per annum in lost delays.






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