The Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies has recommended a third runway at Heathrow as the best way to expand the UK’s airport capacity and in turn provide extensive financial rewards. The report’s release today has also highlighted strong debate concerning the runway’s environmental impact. London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, told the BBC todau that a new runway would have a "catastrophic" effect.
The Airports Commision Proposal:
"We have submitted a revised plan to the Airports Commission for a new runway to the north-west of the airport following consultation with stakeholders across the UK. The revised plan addresses issues raised by communities at local, regional, and national levels and as a result is better for it. Our proposal now sites the north-west runway further south, and west, which reduces noise impacts and protects more homes and important heritage sites. The number of people affected by significant noise will reduce by at least 12,000 compared to our submission last July.
The number of properties requiring compulsory purchase has reduced by 200, while the revised scheme also avoids the need to redevelop the M4/M25 junction.
It also sees the provision of new green spaces and flood mitigation for local communities."
Key aspects of the long term plan:
- "Two main passenger terminals and transport hubs – Heathrow West (Terminals 5 and 6) and Heathrow East (an extended Terminal 2) – connected by an underground passenger transit and baggage system. Minimum connection times between terminals to fall from 75 to 60 minutes.
- We want to overhaul our cargo facilities and double their capacity. Our plans include climate-controlled cargo environments, improved transit facilities and dedicated freight access points including a potential cargo railhead.
- Land will be set aside for commercial developments such as offices and hotels. It will provide more than enough space to replace commercial premises lost to the third runway.
- A three-runway Heathrow will provide up to 740,000 flights a year. That’s enough for Heathrow to compete on an equal footing with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. It also provides sufficient hub-airport capacity until at least 2040.
- Heathrow’s rail capacity will treble from 18 to 40 trains (equivalent to 5,000 to 15,000 seats) an hour. With improvements to bus and coach services, 30 million more people will travel to Heathrow by public transport in 2030."