Heathrow to hold 6 week consultation (starting 3rd Feb) with households on their north-west runway plan

Heathrow will start a six week consultation with local households on 3rd February, lasting till 17th March. It will ask for their views on Heathrow’s own short-listed north-west third runway plan. The airport wants to get its application as acceptable as possible to locals, to give it more chance of being permitted. “The results will help Heathrow understand what is most important to local residents and will be used to refine the runway proposal before it is resubmitted to the Airports Commission in May.” The consultation will be by post, and will be sent to the 120,000 households and businesses likely to be most impacted by the proposed plans. Those outside this area will have the opportunity to share their views online. There will also be drop-in events in nine local areas, to give people the chance to ask questions and “influence the plans.”  The results will be shared with the Airports Commission, as part of Heathrow’s evidence.  Heathrow knows that the issue of noise is key, and they will fail in their runway plans if there is strong enough opposition by enough people, on noise. They are hoping “mitigation” measures will be enough to reduce opposition. In reality people from huge areas of London, currently hardly affected by Heathrow aircraft noise, would be affected by this runway.

Heathrow  north west runway approach path

Map above (from AirportWatch, not from Heathrow) indicates the likely approach route (orange line)  for the North West runway, from the east (on westerlies)  The runway might be 200 metres further south, if they try and save Harmondsworth Tithe Barn (see map of that option).


Heathrow case rests on more people affected by aircraft noise – people who currently are not over-flown. But those now over-flown may get slightly longer periods than now without noise.  Will people find that acceptable?

Heathrow to consult with households on third runway plan

16 January, 2014 (Heathrow airport press release)

Heathrow will today announce plans for a six week consultation with local households, asking for their views on the shortlisted third runway plan.

Speaking today at the Runways UK conference, Chief Executive of Heathrow Colin Matthews will discuss the next stage of the Airports Commission process and announce Heathrow’s intention to work closely with local communities to improve the shortlisted North-West runway proposal. The results will help Heathrow understand what is most important to local residents and will be used to refine the runway proposal before it is resubmitted to the Airports Commission in May.

The consultation will begin on 3rd February. During the consultation process, a direct postal mail out will be sent to 120,000 households and businesses likely to be most impacted by the proposed plans. Those outside this area will have the opportunity to share their views online. Drop-in events taking place in nine local areas will also give people the chance to ask questions and influence the plans.

Chief Executive Colin Matthews said, “we believe our proposal to expand Heathrow is the right way to deliver the capacity Britain needs to connect to fast growing economies around the world. This consultation is to make sure we correctly understand what local people value and that we can take their views into account as we refine our proposal. The more people that tell us their views, the more successful the process will be. We know that opinion is divided locally about whether a third runway should go ahead or not, but everyone has an interest in making sure that if a third runway does happen it is developed in the best way possible.”

The consultation is a continuation of Heathrow’s engagement with the local community which has been on-going throughout the Airports Commission process. The results will be shared with the Commission for its independent review.

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

Event locations – (dates and locations TBC)


  • Harmondsworth
  • Longford
  • Harlington
  • Colnbrook
  • Richings Park
  • Hounslow
  • Brentford
  • Richmond
  • Windsor


Why is the consultation happening?

In its Interim Report in December the Commission said that there is a clear case for a new runway in the South East and shortlisted three options, two of which included a third runway at Heathrow.

The Commission expects the promoters of the shortlisted options to further develop their proposals during 2014 and carry out detailed sustainability assessments that look at the social, economic and environmental impacts of each option.

While we can’t speed up the Airports Commission’s work programme and provide certainty for communities about whether a third runway will happen or not, we can work with local communities to improve our proposal for Heathrow. We can make sure that if the Government decides that a third runway at Heathrow should go ahead, then the option and any mitigation requirements have been developed with input from local communities at an early stage.

What will you consult on?

The new options we submitted to the Commission last year were in outline form only and further work is needed to develop our plan for the shortlisted North-West runway proposal. In developing our short-listed runway option for the Commission, we want to know what issues matter most to people who might be affected by Heathrow’s expansion or who have an interest in the airport. And, wherever possible, we want to ensure that our proposal addresses those issues and reflects the views of those around the airport.

What if residents say they don’t want a third runway at Heathrow at all?

This is not a consultation about whether there should be a third runway at Heathrow or not. That is a decision for the Government and the Airports Commission, not for us as the operators of Heathrow. Our responsibility is to work out the best way of delivering a new runway if the Government decides that the project should go ahead.


Why are you consulting now?

Consulting local people on proposals at this early stage means there is a real opportunity to change plans in response to their feedback. The downside of early consultation is that many people will have questions for which we do not yet have answers. For example, we do not have flight-paths for the runway options at this stage, nor do we have detailed plans and proposals for how various areas will be developed. This will be the first opportunity for residents and interested parties to have their say but not be the last opportunity. We will continue to consult with people as we revise and improve our plans.

What questions will you ask?

In particular, we are seeking feedback on how we have proposed to manage aircraft noise, an issue which we know is of concern to many people who live close to Heathrow. Taking into account the Airports Commission programme of activities for 2014, this consultation will seek a high level understanding of those social, economic and environmental issues which matter most to people affected by Heathrow’s expansion in the context of our outline plan.





Heathrow Rethinks New Runway Site to Avoid M25, Medieval Barn

By Kari Lundgren and Chris Jasper  (Bloomberg)
Jan 16, 2014

Heathrow Ltd. said it’s exploring plans to shift the site of a proposed third runway in an effort to minimize the impact of construction work as Europe’s busiest hub ramps up efforts to win support for its expansion.

The new runway could be built slightly to the south of the location currently proposed, reducing the overlap with a major junction of the M25 orbital motorway and avoiding destruction of historic buildings, Heathrow Chief Executive Officer Colin Matthews said today at a conference in London.

Heathrow was last month identified as a preferred focus of additional runway capacity serving southeast England in an preliminary report from the state-appointed Airports Commission. The modifications revealed by Matthews would concern a proposed 3.5 kilometer (2.2 mile) strip to the northwest, which Heathrow prefers to the extension of the existing northern runway to at least 6 km, which the study also mooted.

Heathrow said in July on submitting proposals to the commission that it might be possible to further develop the northwest runway plan to allow the preservation in their current location of the Tithe Barn and St Mary’s Church in Harmondsworth, “both sites of significant heritage value.”

The barn, built in 1426, bears a grade-one preservation order and ranks with Westminister Abbey and the Houses of Parliament for its exceptional architectural and historic interest, according toEnglish Heritage.

Demand Profile

In total around 950 residential properties would need to be demolished, with construction of the runway completed in six years with a total cost of 17 billion pounds ($28 billion). The strip, just south of the junction between the M25 and the M4 motorway to Wales and western England, would also require the orbital road to be reconfigured, Heathrow said in July.

Responding to questions at the Runways UK conference in London, Matthews ruled out an increase in fees of as much as 100 percent in order to help fund the new runway.

Howard Davies, the Airports Commission chairman, said earlier that he’d seek to decide between recommending the expansion of Heathrow and construction of a second runway at London Gatwick airport, the other site shortlisted, based on the anticipated nature of future markets.

Heathrow, already Europe’s busiest hub with connections around the world, might be favored were demand deemed to be focused on transfer traffic, while Gatwick could be suitable if the chief goal was to serve point-to-point travel originating or terminating in London.

The commission is too narrowly focused on aviation issues rather than the welfare of Londoners, Daniel Moylan, an adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson, said at the conference. Johnson favors a new airport in the Thames estuary or expansion of the Stansted low-cost hub to reduce noise over urban areas.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at klundgren2@bloomberg.net; Christopher Jasper in London at cjasper@bloomberg.net