Heathrow publishes glossy 48 page document promoting its north-west 3rd runway plans

Heathrow airport has released a glossy 48 page document, for the public, promoting its north-west runway option. The document is very high on spin, aspiration, laudable future hopes and intentions of all sorts – but  very thin on any detail of how these might realistically happen.  Wishful thinking, writ large. For instance, on carbon emission, there are hopes of huge cuts through aircraft not yet invented, fuels also not yet in existence, and carbon trading – not yet in existence.  Heathrow makes 10 commitments, but gives no detail about time-scale or who would enforce these commitments, or what would be the penalty for failing to deliver them. There are hopes of better air quality near the airport, 100,000 new jobs, £100 billion (no time scale given – probably over years ….) to the UK economy,  and a lot on listening to the public. There are some very carefully chosen sentences about the increase in aircraft noise and numbers affected. Heathrow says it will reduce aircraft noise etc ….”by encouraging the world’s quietest aircraft to use Heathrow, routing aircraft higher over London, delivering periods with no aircraft overhead and allocating £250m to provide noise insulation.”  


 The 48 page document is at  “Taking Britain forward”

Heathrow says:

“Expanded Heathrow critical to UK economy. Over 100,000 new jobs created. Economic benefits of at least £100bn. Forty new long haul destinations”

13 May, 2014 ( Heathrow airport website )

TBF - 3rd runway day rgb

Improved expansion proposals published by Heathrow today are the only way to connect all of the UK to growth.

Heathrow says:

Heathrow today announced an improved plan to expand the UK’s hub airport that will create more than 100,000 new UK jobs and at least £100bn of UK economic benefits by connecting all of the UK to global growth.

The figures are part of Heathrow’s revised expansion plans that will be submitted tomorrow to the Airports Commission. The submission follows discussions with local residents and businesses, the public, businesses around the country, passengers, airlines and elected representatives across the UK’s nations and regions. Heathrow is the UK’s only hub and the only option that will connect the whole of the UK to new emerging economies, bringing jobs and prosperity to the country. It is deliverable, fundable and will create a world-class global gateway to make Britain proud. And it proposes to go further than any other large-scale UK infrastructure project in compensating for its impact on surrounding communities.

Key elements of Heathrow’s proposals include:

  • Every nation and region of Britain to be connected to global markets:
    • More than 100,000 new jobs created. This includes 50,000 new jobs in the local Heathrow area, plus a further 20,000+ across London and another 50,000+ across the UK.
    • At least £100bn of UK economic benefits, better than any other airport expansion option.
    • 40 new direct, daily routes to fast growing economies such as San José, Wuhan and Kolkata.
    • Doubling cargo capacity to improve UK export competitiveness. 65% of the UK’s £400bn freight exports already travel via Heathrow.
    • New rail access to Wales and the West through the Western mainline, the South and South West through Southern Rail Access, and the North through HS2. Total rail capacity will treble from 5,000 to 15,000 seats per hour.
    • A Taskforce for Regional Connectivity will be established to develop proposals for how regional air links to Heathrow can be improved. Additional capacity will provide space for flights to cities such as Inverness, Liverpool and Newquay.
    • Investment in airport infrastructure will create jobs across the UK while a new runway is being built


We’ve listened to local views and developed a significantly different expansion proposition to 2007, and an improvement on our initial proposal in July 2013:

  • By 2030, at least a 30% reduction in the number of people in Heathrow’s noise footprint to deliver the lowest noise levels since the 1970s.
  • Located farther south, the updated runway proposal affects 200 fewer homes, preserves historical buildings in Harmondsworth and maintains the existing M25/M4 junction.
  • New section of M25 to be tunnelled and upgraded alongside the existing section, increasing capacity and reducing congestion without disrupting road users.
  • 12,000 fewer people will be affected by significant noise by moving the proposed runway farther south.
  • A total compensation fund of over £550m allocated for noise insulation and property compensation. This is more generous than previously proposed for a third runway and proposals for most other infrastructure projects. (Proposed residential property compensation includes: 25% above market value for properties subject to compulsory purchase; stamp-duty costs on a new home; legal fees paid).
  • Improvements in schools, publicly accessible green space and flood protection for local communities.
  • A deliverable, world-class hub and global-gateway to make Britain proud:
    • Heathrow offers the fastest, most cost effective and most practical route to delivering new hub capacity. Costs are estimated at £15.6bn, all of which would be privately funded. Government support for surface access improvements would be required and is estimated at £1.2bn.
    • A third runway would be delivered by 2025.
    • A third runway has local support. 57% of local people say they have a positive view of the airport compared to just 6% who have a negative view. 48% of local people support Heathrow expansion compared to 34% who are opposed. And in the last six months 20,000 people have joined Back Heathrow to campaign in support of the jobs and opportunities that expansion would bring.
    • A new Heathrow West and Heathrow East layout would mean two, easy to navigate points of entry, improving passenger experience.
    • A single transit system to bring connection times in line with competitor hub airports.
    • Heathrow has successfully delivered £11bn of infrastructure safely, on time, on budget and to high quality without affecting the operation of one of the world’s busiest airports. The new Terminal 2, which will open in June, has been the safest construction project in the UK and has used a UK-wide supply-chain.

John Holland-Kaye, Development Director and Chief Executive Designate of Heathrow said:

“Expansion at Heathrow matters to the whole country. Only Heathrow will connect all of the UK to fast growing international markets. The plans we are submitting to the Airports Commission demonstrate major economic benefits from a third runway for the whole of the UK.

“Expansion at Heathrow has national and local support. We have worked closely with local residents, listened to their concerns and improved our plans. Our submission reduces the number of properties that would need to be purchased and the number of people affected by significant noise. We would establish a fund to enhance local amenities and compensate residents more generously than previous UK infrastructure projects.

“Our plans are deliverable. Heathrow offers the fastest, most cost effective and practical route to connect the whole of the UK to growth and we have proven our ability to deliver a world-class hub that will make Britain proud. Building on Heathrow’s existing strength will connect the whole of the UK to growth, keep Britain as an ambitious global nation and help the UK win the global race.”

Notes to editors

Why expansion at Heathrow is critical now

There is a compelling case for a third runway at Heathrow.

As an island trading nation, good international transport links have been a source of competitive advantage for the UK. Now that advantage is being eroded. Our global hub airport is full, and is unable to add flights to fast growing destinations.

Britain’s other airports have an important role to play but cannot compete with foreign hubs which make long-haul flights viable by mixing transfer passengers, direct passengers and freight.

So Britain faces a choice.

We can have the confidence and vision to develop our own hub into a world-class gateway for the 21st century, or we can accept that in future much of the world will not be able to fly to Britain direct.

Heathrow’s proposal is deliverable – environmentally, practically, financially, and politically. It offers a different and improved approach from the previous proposals for a third runway, with less noise and less environmental impact.

The potential prize to be gained by taking a positive decision is huge: thousands of new jobs, more trade, more investment, and more growth. With new rail and air links the whole country will benefit.

Britain already has one of the world’s most successful hub airports in Heathrow. Building on this strength will connect the UK to growth and help the UK win the global race.

Heathrow will take British people and businesses farther with the long-haul routes it provides that no other UK airport can.

Heathrow will also take Britain further by supporting the trade, inbound tourism and investment that will deliver the jobs and economic growth we need.

It’s time to make a positive decision for future generations and for all of Britain.

Only Heathrow can connect the whole of the UK to growth.

Heathrow’s 10 commitments

If Government supports a third runway we will:

  1. Connect Britain to economic growth

by enabling airlines to add new long-haul flights to fast-growing markets

  1. 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

  1. Protect more than 100,000 existing local jobs and create more than 100,000 new jobs nationwide

by developing our local employment, apprenticeships and skills programmes and supporting a supply chain throughout the UK, including during construction

  1. Connect exporters to global markets

by doubling Heathrow’s freight handling capacity

  1. 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

  1. Reduce aircraft noise and lessen noise impacts for people under flight paths

by encouraging the world’s quietest aircraft to use Heathrow, routing aircraft higher over London, delivering periods with no aircraft overhead and allocating £250m to provide noise insulation

  1. Treat those most affected by a third runway fairly

by proposing compensation of 25% above market value, all legal fees, and stamp duty costs for a new home for anyone whose home needs to be purchased

  1. 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 and considering the case for a congestion charge

  1. 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

  1. Reduce delays and disruption

by eliminating the routine use of aircraft stacks and further improving Heathrow’s resilience to weather and unforeseen events

  • Report ‘Taking Britain Further’ is available on the Heathrow website.
  • The document (48 pages, glossy, very  low on real detail) is at

  • Heathrow 3rd runway May 2014 “Taking Britain further

  • http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Expanded-Heathrow-critical-to-UK-economy-Over-100-000-new-jobs-created-Economic-benefits-of-at-lea-8cf.aspx
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  • What Heathrow’s 3rd runway proposal says on carbon emissions and air quality (very little)

    Just taking the parts on carbon emissions and air quality from Heathrow’s promotional document for its 3rd runway, the claims can be seen to be ambitious, or perhaps unrealistic. Tellingly they forget to mention carbon emissions in the press release, other than to say there is one of their 10 “commitments” (no indication how these are to be enforced) that they will “Keep CO2 emissions within UK climate change targets”. This appears to be largely on hopes of more efficient operation, plus planes as yet unbuilt, carbon trading systems as yet not in existence, and new fuels (they don’t actually mention biofuels), which also do not exist. On local air quality standards, which the Heathrow area currently often breaches, Heathrow says it wants a local congestion charge to reduce vehicle journeys, a lot more public transport (paid for by taxpayer?) and another commitment (enforcement?) to “Increase the proportion of passengers using public transport to access Heathrow to more than 50%”. They also depend on road vehicle engines in future emitting less NO2 than at present.

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  • What Heathrow’s 3rd runway proposal says on noise (not very convincing)

    Heathrow’s publicity document on its 3rd runway plans has quite a lot on noise, as Heathrow realises that the noise generated by its aircraft is a key political topic, and is perhaps the main issue that would stop the runway. Having a new runway would mean the number of annual flights could increase by up to 260,000 per year (compared to the current 470,000 or so). This would inevitably create a huge amount more noise. But by only considering the people within the loudest noise contours (noise averaged over many hours each day) – the 57dBALeq countour and the 55dbLden contour – and not those who experience aircraft noise, but not quite as loudy, Heathrow claims fewer people will experience noise. This is manifestly not the truth. There may be slightly fewer, by massaging the figures, in the noisiest contours. But there will be many more experiencing aircraft noise, if not at the most intense levels. Already people miles from the airport, outside any current contour, are troubled and disturbed by aircraft noise. The document provides various maps and charts to try and make their point. The concept of respite periods is key in Heathrow’s attempts to win over the over-flown public, and those yet to be over-flown.

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  • Heathrow still has a mountain to climb in persuading politicians about its 3rd runway

    Writing in a blog, the day Heathrow submitted their runway plans to the Airports Commission, John Stewart (Chair of Hacan, the community group for people affected by the noise from Heathrow flight paths) says Heathrow still has a mountain to climb. Their revised 3rd runway plan shows they understand the need to pull out all the stops to make it politically deliverable. They appreciate that unless there are enough “goodies” for voters living under the flight paths and around Heathrow, governments will continue to be reluctant to commit to a 3rd runway. It is the proposals to deal with noise and community destruction that most politicians will be interested in. The view in the “Heathrow villages” of the offers of slightly higher than necessary payments to those facing compulsory purchase of their homes is that it will take much more than that to quell opposition. Heathrow does now acknowledge that aircraft noise is a problem outside the discredited 57 noise contour but few are really persuaded there would be less noise with 260,000 more flights per year. Whether Heathrow can do enough to persuade politicians that a3rd runway is politically deliverable is still open to real doubt.

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