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Press releases
Sep 17, 2019

Heathrow Airport’s Consultation on its 3rd runway is deluded and reveals an immature scheme which keeps changing

  • Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) reveals that its North West Runway (NWR) scheme will extend far beyond the boundary designated by the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), increasing costs, impacts on people, property and delivery risk
  • Boundary expansion will result in what could be the greatest ever single loss of green belt land
  • Continued absence of an airport safety case, even at this late stage
  • Worse respite as new communities are brought into the noise footprint
  • Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps should announce a review

Heathrow Hub’s response to HAL’s statutory consultation found that plans for the North West Runway (NWR) extend far beyond the agreed red line boundary in the designated ANPS. HAL’s assumption it can land grab beyond the boundary does not consider the fact it will need separate Development Consent Orders (DCOSs) as well as planning applications and other consents for the extra land, nor does it comply with the ANPS, approved by Parliament, which relied on the initial red line boundary as accurately representing the extent of HAL’s scheme.

Heathrow Hub has repeatedly warned of the threat of major construction beyond the red line boundary, citing the inability of HAL to accommodate displaced commercial property and infrastructure within the boundary. Increased land grab and construction costs will only add to the spiralling costs of the NWR project as well as increased risk to the delivery of the scheme.

Of grave concern for local businesses, residents and the wider community should be the fact that the increased scope of the construction plans leaves those homes and commercial premises outside of the red line boundary at risk of being unable to claim compensation for blight as well as the additional concern over noise and pollution levels. Furthermore, HAL’s consultation discloses what could be the greatest ever single loss of green belt land.

Heathrow Hub continues to note the lack of a safety case for the NWR. It is our assertion that once a safety case is completed it will show reduced capacity of the NWR scheme and will likely have a significant impact on noise and respite, given the questionable deliverability of HAL’s proposed runway alternation. The NWR will bring more communities into the noise footprint, while for existing communities the limited distance between the proposed NWR and the existing northern runway will result in noise contours overlapping to a significant degree, effectively resulting in no respite.

Finally, the cost of the NWR continues to spiral out of control partly as a result of the increased scope of the project including additional infrastructure and land acquisition and the difficulty of moving the M25 to accommodate the new runway. In the absence of any up-to-date cost estimate from HAL, Heathrow Hub estimates the total cost of the project will be £61bn with the first phase costing as much as £37.7bn.

A spokesman for Heathrow Hub commented: “The immaturity of the NWR scheme design, over seven years since work started on this incredibly important national infrastructure project, is incomprehensible.

“Not only does the latest consultation show a plan that is materially different from the ANPS, approved by Parliament, it reveals untenable noise and pollution levels for local communities, an assault on the green belt and spiralling costs that will have to be passed on to consumers.

“We call yet again on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to announce a proper review of expansion at Heathrow and to consider our cheaper, greener, quieter and simpler scheme.”

Heathrow Hub is currently in the process of appealing a decision by the High Court to refuse to quash the Airports National Policy Statement and the Court of Appeal hearing is scheduled for October.