New Heathrow consultation in spring highlights inadequacies of earlier consultations and lack of clarity

Heathrow have announced another new consultation, to start perhaps in April. Its purpose is to “finalise its proposals for airport expansion”, following the decision by the CAA in December to cap early spending on the project. This CAA action has had the effect of prolonging the construction period of a 3rd runway by 3 years. The airport says it “will need to undertake refreshed modelling of key aspects of the plan – including public transport to and from the airport” – to evidence that Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) targets can be met” (sic). The No 3rd Runway Coalition says that it is due to the inadequacies of the previous consultation(s) that Heathrow needs this fresh consulting in 2020. Chair of the Coalition, Paul McGuinness said the decision to hold yet another consultation is tantamount to a recognition that they have already failed to meet the consultation standards expressly required of it in the ANPS. Their statutory consultation in 2019 lacked vital environmental and health assessment and was wholly inadequate. The entire reasoning behind the project may well now require review, as due to the delay, the tiny net benefits of the runway have become a large negative figure. Serious reassessment is now needed of the project.



New Heathrow consultation highlights inadequacies

7 January 2020

From the No 3rd Runway Coalition

Responding to the news that Heathrow will be further consulting on their expansion plans, Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No Third Runway Coalition, said:

“We are surprised that Heathrow feels it will be ready to make its application for planning permission to expand in 2020. Their announcement of a further consultation on their expansion plans is tantamount to a recognition that they have already failed to meet the consultation standards expressly required of it in the Airports National Policy Statement. 

“Their statutory consultation in 2019 lacked vital environmental and health assessment and was wholly inadequate. It did not provide communities with the information required or demonstrate how their plans could meet targets set by parliament on noise, air pollution, carbon emissions and public transport improvements.

“Moreover, the entire reasoning behind the project may well now require review. According to government, the total net benefit of this expansion was to be just £3bn. Yet, Heathrow have announced a construction delay of up to three years which, according to the Transport Select Committee, will reduce the total net benefit of Heathrow expansion by £16.3bn – meaning that the project can now only be a net economic loss to the nation.”


For more information, contact Rob Barnstone, Co-ordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition – 07806947050 or      

See link to press release



There is no information yet about the consultation – starting in April ? – on the Heathrow website 

The consultation will last for 8 weeks from April until June. Exact dates are not yet available.

Heathrow also state an intention to submit a Development Consent Order at the end of 2020.



Heathrow confirms planning application in 2020 alongside new delivery timetable and public consultation

January 7th, 2020

Heathrow has announced it will launch an eight-week public consultation to finalise its proposals for airport expansion following the recent decision by the UK’s aviation regulator, the CAA, to cap early spending on the project.

Heathrow outlines timeline for submission of expansion planning application towards the end of 2020

The airport announces it will hold further public consultation to finalise airport expansion proposals following the recent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) decision to cap early spending
An eight-week consultation will run from April through to June

Capping spending has prolonged the construction period of a new third runway and means Heathrow will need to undertake refreshed modelling of key aspects of the plan – including public transport to and from the airport – to evidence that Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) targets can be met.

The consultation will run from April through to June ensuring that communities can review and feedback. Heathrow will be writing to local authorities in the coming weeks with more information, offering them the opportunity to feedback on our approach to consultation. Responses will feed into the final planning application, to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate towards the end of 2020.

Heathrow’s submission to the Planning Inspectorate will detail how the airport will expand and connect all of Britain to global growth, whilst meeting the requirements of the ANPS. It will also restate Heathrow’s commitment to ensuring an expanded Heathrow meets strict environmental targets, delivers tens of thousands of new high-skilled jobs and honours our commitments to local communities.

If Heathrow’s plans are approved by the Secretary of State on the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate, the third runway is expected to open between early 2028 and late 2029.

Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion Emma Gilthorpe, said, “This country is ready for a decade of infrastructure delivery underpinned by expansion at Heathrow. We are keen to ensure our plans continue to be supported and shaped by local people as we prepare to deliver the economic boost Britain needs.”

In the coming weeks, Heathrow will announce dates and locations for consultation events as it also prepares to become one of the first major international airports to operate carbon neutral infrastructure.


Heathrow runway completion date now 2029, NOT 2026. That means maximum economic benefit cut from +£3.3bn to a loss of -£13bn to the UK

Heathrow’s timetable for its 3rd runway faces further delay after CAA said it would only approve £1.6 billion of spending before the DCO is approved. Not the £3 billion Heathrow wants.  In a new CAA consultation document released on Thursday, they say this would mean a delay of about a year to the 2026 scheduled opening of Heathrow’s runway, based on Heathrow’s estimates. However, Heathrow said the CAA’s proposal would delay the completion of the runway by up to 3 years. ie. it would not open till 2029 (Heathrow says “between early 2028 and late 2029….).  The delayed opening date means the alleged economic benefit to the UK is far lower than currently estimated. The Transport Select Cttee report in March 2018 on the Airports NPS said the maximum benefit of the runway to the whole of the UK over 60 years would be +£3.3 billion. They said that a delay of two years, from opening in 2026 to 2028 would mean a loss of £16.3 in economic benefit to the UK. That means the runway would now cause a considerable economic loss to the country.  On this basis alone there should be a review of the Airports NPS, and rethink by government on Heathrow.

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Aviation regulator, the CAA, losing patience with Heathrow expansion – approve only £1.6bn before DCO granted

The CAA has rejected Heathrow’s desire to spend nearly £3bn on its new runway despite the plans not having received final approval, in a sign that it is losing confidence in Heathrow’s ability to fund the project on budget.  The CAA has a new consultation on this. The CAA approved just under half Heathrow’s request; £1.6bn (at 2018 prices) before the DCO is granted, saying that “passengers cannot be expected to bear the risk” of Heathrow “spending too much in the early phase of development, should planning permission not be granted”. This is yet another hurdle for Heathrow.  Heathrow now says that instead of opening its new runway in 2026, that has now been put back to 2028/ 2029. That delay makes a large difference to the supposed economic benefit to the UK, which was at best marginal even with a 2026 opening date.  Both Heathrow and the Government claim that the project will be privately financed yet there are concerns about Heathrow’s ability to afford expansion as costs continue to rise and the markets begin to question the viability of the investment. Standard and Poor said there is significant concern about the design, funding and construction costs of a 3rd runway which would make it unviable.

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Heathrow ordered by CAA to rein in 3rd runway costs – to ensure it is built economically and efficiently

The CAA has inserted a significant new clause into Heathrow’s licence, starting in January 2020, amid concerns that costs on the vast 3rd runway project will spiral out of control. Heathrow will be penalised if it fails to build its £14bn expansion scheme efficiently — the first time such a condition has been imposed on the airport. Airlines, especially British Airways, are nervous that Heathrow will try to get them to pay up-front for construction costs, which would put up the price of air tickets, deterring passengers. The CAA polices the fees the airport charges passengers. It said the new licence clause was needed to “set clear expectations for Heathrow to conduct its business economically and efficiently”. Heathrow says this is disproportionate and could put off investors. IAG boss Willie Walsh has repeatedly complained that Heathrow’s runway scheme is a “gold-plated”, and that there is little incentive for Heathrow to keep costs down. Under a complex incentive system, the more Heathrow spends, the more its owners can earn. Heathrow has already spent £3.3 billion on its plans, which have not even yet passed through legal challenges, let alone the DCO process.

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London Assembly – wholly opposed to Heathrow expansion – urges people to respond, rejecting 3rd runway plans

The London Assembly is totally opposed to a 3rd Heathrow runway. They have set out clearly 5 key reasons why it should be opposed, and are asking Londoners to reject the plans. They point out that the Heathrow consultation is confusing, and very difficult indeed for anyone who is not an expert to fill in. The Assembly says: “We are gravely concerned that Heathrow is prioritising the interests of the airline industry and passengers over and above the wellbeing of Londoners, who are going to be the most affected by the expansion.”   The plans would mean unacceptable levels of noise, air pollution, carbon emissions and amounts of road traffic. The extra noise is likely to harm health and well-being of thousands of people. As the consultation is too hard to respond to, using the online or paper forms, the Assembly suggests that people send a short message to the Heathrow email address  The text they suggest – vary it however you wish – is “Heathrow expansion fundamentally goes against the UK’s commitment to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality in the capital.  It’s going to make air pollution worse, increase carbon emissions and increase noise, and we don’t support it. I stand with hundreds of others calling for it to be CANCELLED.”

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Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, hints at scrapping Heathrow expansion and “taking a really close look” at whether it stacks up

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has hinted that the Government could scrap Heathrow expansion, in his first public utterances on the topic in his new job. He told Sky News that “there are questions about whether the whole plan stacks up” and that Heathrow are going to need to “make sure they bring in enough income to justify the billions of pounds spent on it.” Mr Shapps also mentioned the upcoming legal challenge appeal, starting on Thursday 17 October. He said “there are of course court cases to do with emissions, that sort of thing so what we’ve said is we’ll watch that process very carefully and in the meantime I’ll be having a really close look at whether figures stack up or whether building more capacity, another runway there, would add to the charges to such an extent that it doesn’t.” Rob Barnstone, from the No 3rd Runway Coalition said: “Whether it is Heathrow’s overconfidence of being able to deliver the necessary funds for this project or the catastrophic environmental impacts, it is becoming clearer than ever that a third runway won’t be able to be delivered on time or budget and certainly does not fit within the Government’s environmental commitments of net zero emissions by 2050.”

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