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Heathrow’s 3rd Runway – another blunder by the Department for Transport
- Heathrow Hub demands mistakes made by the Department for Transport be rectified
- The cheaper, simpler, quicker Extended Runway should be included in the National Policy Statement
- Jacob Rees-Mogg and George Freeman support the Extended Runway plan
- The Extended Runway can meet the four tests set out by the Labour party on noise and environmental impacts, capacity, emissions and regional benefits
Heathrow Hub is liaising with Parliamentarians and contemplating legal options to ensure these mistakes are rectified and that the extended runway is included in the National Policy Statement.
There are two key mistakes the Department for Transport (DFT) has made, in relation to capacity and respite. The cause of the problem is that neither the DFT nor Heathrow Airport Ltd have conducted a Safety Review, which would disclose the indicative flight paths and the restrictions required to operate safely a three-in-line-runway airport.
First mistake – capacity
The Airports Commission asked Heathrow Hub to model 700,000 movements, which we did. However, it asked Heathrow Airport to model 740,000 movements. It then mistakenly claimed we could only do the lower number. We commissioned new modelling showing we can do at least 740,000 movements and submitted it to the DfT, but this has been ignored.
We believe a Safety Review would also show that Heathrow’s claims on capacity are exaggerated.
Second mistake – respite
A Safety Review would show that, under Heathrow Airport’s proposal, about a third of aircraft will have to cross in the sky on approach. This is so a plane coming from, say, the south, could reach a northern terminal and vice versa.
This will spread complex new flight paths to the east of the airport across London and massively reduce the opportunities for respite closer to the airport.
By contrast, Heathrow Hub has commissioned an independent safety review and submitted it to the DfT.
The flexibility of the Extended Runway would allow different approach paths enabling 8.5 hours of respite nearer the airport, more than now. The DFT has apparently ignored or misunderstood this point.
The DFT should ask Heathrow to conduct a Safety Review. It should also ask it to disclose indicative flight paths and approaches ahead of the vote in Parliament.
Two prominent Conservative backbenchers, Jacob Rees-Mogg and George Freeman, have come out in support of the Extended Runway being included as an option in the National Policy Statement. The have written to Mr Grayling and Mr Freeman spoke in favour in the Commons debate today.
Finally, the DfT has not only ignored key submissions from us, but it has also ignored a key recommendation of the House of Commons Transport Committee that would have enabled the CAA to test that the NWR scheme is both affordable and financeable before it is submitted for approval by Parliament.
Jock Lowe, director of Heathrow Hub, said:
“We are working really hard with Parliamentarians to ensure the mistakes made by the Department for Transport are rectified and that the extended runway is included in the National Policy Statement.
“We are confident that unlike the third runway, we can meet the four tests set by the Labour party on noise and environmental impacts, capacity, emissions and regional benefits.
“As our scheme would take four years less to build, it would actually save time to include it in the National Policy Statement.
“Our scheme has always been in the national interest and our principal investor, Anthony Clake, has promised to give any profits to charity.”