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Boris Johnson and the CAA should review Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd Runway, and support the cheaper extended runway option instead
The board of the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”) is reportedly meeting tomorrow to consider a request from Heathrow Airport Ltd for £3.3 billion of pre-application spending in preparation for its 3rd Runway. Heathrow Hub, the promoter of the alternative, cheaper extended runway has written to the CAA to demand an urgent review before agreeing to this expenditure.
We have previously written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to demand a review under Section 6 of the National Planning Act. We argue that the costs of Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd Runway plan continue to escalate, and the proposal to bring in 280,000 additional flights is incompatible with achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The costs of Heathrow Airport Ltd’s 3rd Runway are rising substantially; the pre-application costs alone have tripled to £3.3 billion and IAG has warned that the 3rd Runway could cause passenger charges, already the highest in the world, to double to more than £40 each. The CAA has estimated that the full cost of Heathrow Airport Ltd’s scheme will be £32 billion. Heathrow Hub estimates the total cost of the 3rd Runway could actually be as much as £61 billion by the time it is completed.
The huge costs involved in the construction of the 3rd Runway mean that the Government and the regulators will have to approve the full 280, 000 flights a year that Heathrow Airport Ltd intends, whatever the environmental consequences. Conversely, Heathrow Hub’s low-cost, phased plan ensures that no new capacity need be introduced until the Government and regulators are satisfied that environmental limits can be met; its first phase can deliver up to 70, 000 additional flights, will cost just £4.7 billion and have no impact on passenger fees.
Jock Lowe, director, Heathrow Hub, said: “It is absurd that Heathrow Airport Ltd is considering spending £3 billion on pre-application costs when it has not said what the full cost will be, still has no final scheme design and cannot say how it will build its new runway over the M25, right next to the M4 junction, without years of traffic chaos.
“Boris Johnson should stop his ministers fighting for Heathrow’s 3rd Runway in the courts, initiate a proper review and switch the Government’s support to our cheaper, quicker, greener and simpler scheme, which delivers additional capacity at a fraction of the cost and, critically, only once environmental targets have been met.
”Heathrow Hub is awaiting a judgement from the Court of Appeal on the Government’s decision to support Heathrow Airport’s 3rd Runway plan.