While Heathrow try to claim cost of surface access just £2.2 billion, TfL estimates cost of £18.4 billion

Heathrow’s management have claimed that only £1.2bn of public funds would be needed to upgrade local road and rail links, for its 3rd runway, while Heathrow itself would spend a further £1bn, making £2.2bn. The Airports Commission estimated the cost to be around 5.7bn, to include widening the M4 and tunnelling the M25 under the runway. But now TfL has come up with figures showing the total cost would be about £18.4bn, which is hugely more. TfL believes Heathrow and the Commission have substantially underestimated the amount of increased congestion the runway would cause on the roads, and on trains due to 30 million more annual passengers. They also did not take freight into account. The government has said whichever airport might be allowed a runway would have to meet all the costs which arise due to a new runway, and from which the airport would directly benefit. TfL has added the cost of other vital transport infrastructure, such as improving bus services, traffic management measures and alterations to the South West and Great Western Main Lines. TfL says none of the schemes in its £18.4bn figure are already committed, funded or planned. The Campaign for Better Transport said the money would be better spent elsewhere eg. on the Northern Powerhouse.


Shock £17bn taxpayer’s bill for Heathrow expansion revealed through Freedom of Information request by Greenpeace

Environmental and transport groups have used FoI to obtain details from Transport for London (TfL), of their estimates of the amount of money the UK taxpayer would be expected to pay, for Heathrow’s 3rd runway. This comes to a staggering £17 billion, to cover the costs of transport links needed to deal with a massive traffic surge from a 3rd Heathrow runway. TfL say the actual cost would be around £18.4 billion – which is 4 times as high as estimated by the Airports Commission. Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye reiterated, to the Environmental Audit Committee (4.11.2015) that the airport would pay only about £1 billion. The government made it clear (Oct 2015) that it expects aviation expansion promoters to cover any surface access costs.The vast amount of money required throws into question both the financing and feasibility of a crucial part of the project. The documents, released to Greenpeace through FoI, contain the first detailed comparison of the contrasting estimates by the Airport Commission and TfL. They show the figures published in the Commission’s report failed to take into account the costs of key rail schemes, extra buses, additional operational spending and road traffic management. The Treasury needs to properly assess the real costs of expanding Heathrow and guarantee taxpayers won’t be left to pick up the bill.

Click here to view full story…

What TfL says is needed:

TfL says it has not included any transport schemes that were already “funded or planned”.

TfL forecasts that the projected growth in airport passenger numbers from about 200,000 to 430,000 per day, if the 3rd runway is fully used. That is a rise of 115%.

TfL expects about 60% of Heathrow passengers, with a 3rd runway, to use surface transport (the other 40% or so are transit passengers, not leaving the airport).

Without the upgrades in surface transport that TfL has costed, it expects delays on the surrounding road and motorway network and and the trains. It expects rail overcrowding, making if difficult for non-Heathrow passengers to get onto trains.

TfL has looked at transport needs up to 2040. The Airports Commission just looked as far ahead as 2030. The new runway would very possibly not be full then, and there might be smaller planes than in 2040. TfL believes the figures should include the full impact, not merely a part of it – to 2030.

The Airports Commission expected the cost of a tunnel for the M25 under the new runway to be £3.2 billion. This also includes re-routing the and tunneling the A4, widening the M4 between the relevant junctions and reconfiguring the M4/M25 junction.

TfL says even all that would not be enough to deal with the flood of extra passengers, generated by the 3rd runway.

TfL expects £1.1 billion more for further main road capacity enhancement.

TfL expects £800 million for area traffic management measures.

TfL expects £500 million for bus corridor enhancements.

TfL expects £0.9 million for maintenance of new roads until 2050.

TfL has used the Airport Commission’s assumption that car journeys will remain at their present level, in percentage terms. That means more using rail. That would necessitate improvements to a number of rail services and lines.

The TfL and the Commission both consider a new southern rail link to Windsor is needed at a cost of £800 million. TfL believes this would require a bypass tunnel near Egham, costing up to £1.8 billion — to protect the Runnymede riverside meadows.

TfL estimates that £3.6 billion would be needed to widen some of the tracks on the Great Western Main Line, from 4 to 6, for several miles.

TfL supports the building of a link from Heathrow and the South West Main Line through a tunnel that to be built under the airport, from Kingston-on-Thames. That could link into Crossrail 2, (from Broxbourne in the north, to Shepperton, Chessington South, Hampton Court and Epsom http://crossrail2.co.uk/the-route/ ) if that is built.


Heathrow runway ‘faces £16bn black hole’

By Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent (Financial Times)


Heathrow faces a “black hole” of more than £16bn to fund the upgrade of road and railway links to the airport if the third runway gets the go-ahead, Transport for London has warned.

In the latest stumbling block to Heathrow’s airport expansion proposals, TfL said its estimates to upgrade the transport system were about eight times more than the airport’s £2.2bn calculation.

The City Hall department said there had been a “substantial underestimate” in the extent to which a third runway would increase heavy congestion on local buses, trains and roads.


A breakdown of TfL’s £18.4bn figure was obtained by Greenpeace through a freedom of information request. John Sauven, executive director of the environmental group, said the figures showed a “gaping hole” in financing for Heathrow expansion.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said that the money would be better spent on the Northern Powerhouse rather than on “worsening the north-south divide”.
Full FT article at


See earlier:


Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill says Heathrow has to pay for surface access work resulting from a 3rd runway

Adam Afriyie has reported that, in response to a question he asked the government’s aviation minister, Robert Goodwill, the Government ruled out spending public money for the related surface access costs of a Heathrow 3rd runway. If correct, this is a huge blow to Heathrow, as their surface access costs could be £5 billion just to tunnel the M25 and perhaps up to £10 -15 billion more, for other road and rail improvements, according to Transport for London. In response to the parliamentary question Robert Goodwill said: “In terms of surface access proposals, the Government has been clear that it expects the scheme promoter to meet the costs of any surface access proposals that are required as a direct result of airport expansion and from which they will directly benefit.”  Adam Afriyie said:  “It is welcome news that the Government has ruled out paying the costs of upgrading the railways and local roads or moving or tunnelling the M25. If Heathrow won’t pay and the Government won’t pay, then the 3rd runway is already dead in the water …It is quite right that the public should not be made to fork out up to £20 billion of subsidies to a private company which refuses to pay its own costs of expansion.”  In July John Holland-Kaye said Heathrow would not pay.




Heathrow boss rules out footing the £5 billion bill for road and rail works – wants taxpayer to pay

The Airports Commission left the matter of who would pay for the approximately £5 billion needed to tunnel a section of the M25, and other surface access improvements, vague. The assumption has been made that the taxpayer would have to fund this, though the Airports Commission suggested that Heathrow would be able to find the funding from its investors for this. Now the CEO of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a 3rd runway is built.  Huge motorway engineering would be needed, to have the runway going over the motorway.  John Holland-Kaye has ruled out paying for the surface access work. Though the government funds road and rail improvements under normal circumstances, tunnelling the M25 and dealing with hugely increased road traffic using an airport 50% larger than at present are not normal circumstances. Especially in times of huge economic savings being necessary in public finances. The Commission’s final report said it considered the runway was commercially viable “without a requirement for direct government support. This remains the case even in a situation where the airport is required to fund 100% of the surface access costs.” This would be by Heathrow “raising both debt and equity finance. This finance is then serviced through subsequent revenues and refinancing by the airport operator.”

Full story at 



Access to expanded Heathrow could cost £20 billion, TfL warns – maybe £15 billion more from the taxpayer than Commission estimate

Transport for London (TfL) has raised “serious concerns” about congestion and the costs of expansion at Heathrow just weeks before the Airports Commission’s final recommendation is due (end of June?). TFL Response to APPG on Surface Access Feb 2015  In response to questions by Zac Goldsmith, TfL said both Heathrow and Commission had “significantly underestimated” the challenge of improving transport access to the site, with the Airports Commission estimating £5 billion would be enough to make the improvements. TfL believes to provide an optimal level of service, the figure would be nearer to £20 billion, raising questions about who would pay the additional costs. TfL said population growth of 37% by 2050 has also not been taken into account, with regards to the increased pressure on London’s roads and public transport infrastructure, Zac said: “TfL is better placed than any other organisation to understand the effects Heathrow expansion will have on London’s transport network, and it is extraordinary therefore that the Commission never bothered to ask for its assessment. This raises serious questions about the thoroughness and reliability of the Commission’s work. If TfL is right, the taxpayer may end up having to cough up an additional £15 billion to help Heathrow secure its monopoly, in addition to all the associated problems of gridlock, noise and air pollution.”


GACC warns Patrick McLoughlin of the future costs to the Exchequer of infrastructure needed for Gatwick runway

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has written to Patrick McLoughlin, to remind him about the comparative costs of infrastructure relating to a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick. Robert Goodwill recently indicated that whichever airport was selected would be expected to pay for the necessary infrastructure – a policy GACC fully supports. GACC point out that the calculation of the surface access costs, by the Airports Commission, is distorted. While it considers the requirements for both airports at 2030, it estimates that by then there would be 35 million extra passengers at Heathrow (due to pent up demand), but only 8 million more at Gatwick(struggling against Stansted and Luton). So the extra road and rail traffic generated at Heathrow by 2030 would be far greater than that at Gatwick, and (when adding tunnelling the M25 at Heathrow) accounts for the difference in infrastructure costs – £5.7 billion compared to under £1 billion. But with the runways working at full capacity by around 2040, the surface access infrastructure costs of a new Gatwick runway would fall on the Exchequer. These would include widening of the M23 or M25, and improvements to the Brighton main line. With Gatwick then bigger than Heathrow today, there might be a need of of a hugely expensive extension of the M23 into central London. And so on …