HACAN will fight tooth and nail against Heathrow’s plans for a 3rd runway

HACAN, representing residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has vowed to ‘fight tooth and nail’ against the proposals for a 3rd runway released by Heathrow Airport.  HACAN welcomed the measures announced by Heathrow to cut noise but argued that these will be negated by the huge increase there will be in the number of planes using the airport if a 3rd runway is given the go-ahead. Heathrow has confirmed that flight numbers will rise by nearly 250,000 a year to a total of 740,000 (from the current 480,000) if a new runway is built. Heathrow’s 3 options are for: (1). A south west option which requires demolition of the 850 properties in the Stanwell Moor area.  (2).  A north west option in the Harmondsworth Moor area involving demolition of 950 properties. (3). A northern option, very similar to the previous plans for a 3rd runway, involving demolition of Sipson and parts of Harlington.  Heathrow has ruled out a 4th runway until at least 2040 as it is not convinced there will be the demand. But it has said that, if a 4th runway was required, one of the options for a 3rd runway would be used. A fourth runway would result in a total of around a million flights per year using the airport.



HACAN vows to fight third runway tooth and nail

17.7.2013 (HACAN – the Heathrow Association for the Control of  Aircraft Noise)

HACAN, representing residents under the Heathrow flight paths, vowed to ‘fight tooth and nail’ against the proposals for a third runway released by Heathrow Airport today (1). The campaign group welcomed the measures announced by the airport to cut noise but argued that these will be negated by the huge increase there will be in the number of planes using Heathrow if a third runway is given the go-ahead. Heathrow today confirmed that flight numbers will rise by nearly 250,000 a year to a total of 740,000 if a new runway is built.

Heathrow Airport revealed three possible sites for a new runway ( see illustrations below ).

▪ A South West option which require demolition of the 850 properties in the Stanwell Moor area

▪ A North West option in the Harmondsworth Moor involving demolition of 950 properties

▪ A North option, very similar to the previous plans for a third runway, involving demolition of Sipson and parts of Harlington

Heathrow has ruled out a fourth runway until at least 2040. It is not convinced there will be the demand for four runways. But has said that, if a fourth runway was required,  one of the options for a third runway would be used. A fourth runway would result in a total of around a million flights per year using the airport.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We will fight any proposal for a new runway tooth and nail. We owe it to future generations to stop a 3rd runway. While we are encouraged by Heathrow’s plans to try to reduce noise, the additional runway will put a 250,000 extra planes a year in the skies over London and the Home Counties and will negate these efforts”.

At present 725,000 people live under the Heathrow flights, according to the European Commission. That is, 28% of all people impacted by aircraft noise across Europe.



(1). The proposals have been submitted to the Airports Commission set up by the Government to look at airport capacity, particularly in London and the South East. Everybody proposing new airports or new runways is required to submit the proposals to the Commission by 19th July. The Commission will short-list the proposals it wants to examine in more detail in its Interim Report at the end of this year. Its final report will be published in summer 2015, two months after the next General Election.

[The Heathrow report is at Heathrow: A New Approach ].




The Heathrow press release is at http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Heathrow-unveils-a-new-approach-to-third-runway-5e2.aspx

Heathrow unveils a new approach to third runway

17 July, 2013 (Heathrow Airport  press release)

Third runway south west


  • Three outline options submitted to Airports Commission
  • Each solution is quicker and cheaper than building a new hub airport
  • All solutions have fewer people affected by noise than Heathrow today
  • Three runways enough to maintain UK’s global hub status for foreseeable future


Heathrow is today submitting to the Airports Commission three options for solving the lack of hub airport capacity in the UK. These see a third runway placed to the north, north west or south west of the existing airport.  [Its report is at Heathrow: A New Approach ].

All three options are quicker and cheaper than any rival hub option, delivering extra capacity by 2025-9 and for £14-18bn1. All three put millions more people within easy reach of the UK’s hub airport than non-Heathrow options and all three protect the thriving businesses and plentiful jobs that surround Heathrow.

Each option has its particular benefits, but Heathrow believes the two westerly options offer clear advantages. They deliver a full-length third runway while minimising the impact on the local community from noise and compulsory house purchases.

The north west option performs better on noise* and residential property impact than the north option whilst costing slightly more and taking slightly longer to build. The south west option further improves the situation for local residents but increases the cost, timescale and construction complexity. The north option is the quickest and cheapest, but offers the least noise benefits and has the biggest residential property impact.

Over the last year, Heathrow has looked at many different ways to solve the UK’s lack of hub airport capacity. Those have been gradually whittled down to the three options we are proposing today.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s chief executive, said, “After half a century of vigorous debate but little action, it is clear the UK desperately needs a single hub airport with the capacity to provide the links to emerging economies which can boost UK jobs, GDP and trade. It is clear that the best solution for taxpayers, passengers and business is to build on the strength we already have at Heathrow. Today we are showing how that vision can be achieved whilst keeping the impact on local residents to an absolute minimum.”

The two westerly options are radically different from the old, short third runway proposed by BAA in the last decade and have been informed by the recent proposals by Tim Leunig2. Whilst there is still more work to be done on the precise detail, we believe they show why Heathrow should be included in the Commission’s shortlist at the end of the year. Each option would raise the capacity at Heathrow to 740,000 flights a year (from the current limit of 480,000). That would cater for 130m passengers, allow the UK to compete with our international rivals and provide capacity at the UK’s hub airport for the foreseeable future.

A third runway would provide benefits to the UK worth £100bn present value, well in excess of the benefits from Crossrail or HS2. Each of the options could be turned into a four runway solution should the demand increase in future. This is a more cost effective solution than building a new four runway airport from scratch when we may never need one.

A new Heathrow would benefit from already planned public transport improvements, such as Crossrail, Western Rail Access and High Speed 2 and the charges per passenger would be likely to be much lower than at a new hub airport. And despite the increase in capacity, the total number of people affected by noise from aircraft will fall. This is due in part to the westerly options being positioned further from London than the existing runways. Each mile the runway is moved to the west puts arriving aircraft approximately 300ft higher over London. Continued improvements in aircraft and air traffic technology will also result in fewer people being disturbed. As a result, even with a third runway there will be 10-20% fewer people within Heathrow’s noise footprint in 2030 than today.

Expansion at Heathrow can also be met within EU climate change targets. This is made possible by continued improvements to aircraft efficiency which mean that air traffic could double by 2050 without a substantial increase in emissions. If carbon trading is included, emissions would be reduced. Similarly Heathrow would improve local air quality in line with EU standards because of cleaner vehicles and the increased proportion of passengers using public transport.

As part of today’s submission, we are unveiling ten key commitments. If the government supports a third runway, Heathrow will:


  1. Connect Britain to economic growth – by enabling airlines to add new flights to fast-growing markets
  2. Connect UK nations and regions to global markets – by working with airlines and government to deliver better air and rail links between UK regions and Heathrow
  3. Protect 114,000 existing local jobs and create tens of thousands of new jobs nationwide – by developing our local employment, apprenticeships and skills programmes and supporting a supply chain throughout the UK
  4. Build more quickly and at lower cost to taxpayers than building a new airport – by building on the strength the UK already has at Heathrow
  5. Reduce aircraft noise – by encouraging the world’s quietest aircraft to use Heathrow and routing aircraft higher over London so that fewer people are affected by noise than today
  6. Lessen noise impacts for people under flight-paths – by delivering periods of noise respite with no aircraft overhead and providing noise insulation for people in high-noise areas
  7. Treat those most affected by a third runway fairly – by ensuring compensation greater than market value is offered to anyone whose home needs to be purchased
  8. Keep CO2 emissions within UK climate change targets and play our part in meeting local air quality limits – by incentivising cleaner aircraft, supporting global carbon trading and increasing public transport use
  9. Increase the proportion of passengers using public transport to access Heathrow to more than 50% – by supporting new rail, bus and coach schemes to improve public transport to Heathrow
  10. Reduce delays and disruption – by further improving Heathrow’s resilience to severe weather and unforeseen events

[Its report is at Heathrow: A New Approach – 52 pages http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/imagelibrary/downloadmedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=1616&SizeId=-1 ].

*Comparison of options

Heathrow todayNorthNorth westSouth west
Passenger capacity80m123m130m130m
Maximum flights480k702k740k740k
Length of new runway2,800m3,500m3,500m
Noise (population within the 57dBA Leq contour)243k-10%-15%-20%
Residential properties lost2,700950850
Opening date202520262029
Ecology impact (hectares)000716
Volume of flood zone 3 storage lost (m3)6k116k1,416k
Grade I/II listed buildings lost020
Construction complexityLowMediumHigh


1) Heathrow research for our report ‘Best Placed for Britain’ showed that a new hub at an expanded Stansted or in the Thames Estuary could not be delivered until at least 2032. The Mayor of London has said a Thames Estuary airport would have a probable cost of £70-80bn, £25bn of which would have to come from public money (Evidence to House of Commons Transport Committee, 11 February 2013).

2) http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/bigger%20and%20quieter.pdf

CGI images of the options (both stills and video) can be downloaded from:


The full report, ‘A New Approach’, as well as previous submissions to the Airports Commission can be downloaded from:





AirportWatch comment:
Having announced runway proposals for a south-west location, and a north-west location (runway on the same alignment as the northern option) there will now be hundreds of thousands of Londoners who live under the new flight paths.
They will now be living in uncertainty – lasting for years, or even for decades (Heathrow has no idea if it will want a 4th runway after 2040).  People who will be affected by the flight paths of both the new northern and the southern options will now know they will be under threat, and a decision will take years.
If the south  western option is chosen for the 3rd runway, then the northern or north western option would be held in case a 4th runway is wanted. And vice versa.
If Sir Howard does decide that one of the Heathrow runway options should be taken forward, in 2015, there will be years of opposition, legal wrangling, politics, delays etc. It would take years to get through, if it could ever be achieved at all.
If a 3rd runway was built, there would definitely be more noise for those living under the new flight path than there is at present.  There might be slightly less noise for those living under the two existing flight paths across London (due to marginally less noisy planes eventually , perhaps slightly steeper approach angle, possibly slightly fewer flights per day) but there will definitely be more noise for those under the new routes.
Years or decades of blight, uncertainty, perhaps reduction in property values.
Starting from today ….

And a bit of history:
19.2.2010   (Evening Standard)
by Sri Carmichael, Consumer Affairs Reporter
London transport bosses today attacked plans for a third runway at Heathrow as they claimed it would cause severe Tube overcrowding.

Transport for London insiders said the Piccadilly line could be thrown into chaos by demand from millions of extra passengers a year and people could also be “pushed back into their cars”.

In its first official statement on the Heathrow expansion, TfL accused ministers
of ignoring the problem.

Sources went further by saying the Government had “completely failed” to address
the issue of transport. The company will voice its concerns in a judicial review of the Government’s runway decision at the High Court starting
on Tuesday.

The action has been brought by a coalition of London councils, green groups and

The judge may force ministers to consult again on the proposals, which could
derail the project.
  TfL said: “The Government’s policy decision is likely to have adverse effects on London’s transport infrastructure.”

Edward Lister, leader of Wandsworth council which heads a group of local authorities behind the challenge, said: “No one trusts a word the Government says on the Heathrow

A Department for Transport official said: “We will defend our decision on Heathrow
robustly in court.”