Terminal 5, Heathrow
Image Source: Hugh Llewelyn
Nick Hill

Heathrow expansion plans make major developments as consultation takes off

The planning process for the expansion at Heathrow Airport is now underway following the launch of one of the largest public consultations in the country’s history.

For the next ten weeks, Heathrow will seek views on how to shape its plans so the airport can deliver the expansion while keeping to the promises it has made to local communities and meeting strict environmental tests.

Over the past year, Heathrow has been working alongside local stakeholders and airline partners to evolve the plans it submitted to the Airports Commission back in 2015.

As a result of this, the airport has identified options to reduce the cost of the expansion plans by £2.5bn.

These options can be delivered without compromising on the expansion commitments Heathrow made to local communities – including a property compensation scheme, the pledge to introduce a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights and the promise to only release new capacity if air quality limits can be met.

The consultation will be composed of two parts – the first relates to the physical changes to the ground needed to build a new north-west runway and operate an expanded airport.

The potential infrastructure options compiled in the consultation include; three shortlisted options for the new north-west runway with length varying from between 3,200 and 3,500 metres; several locations to expand terminal infrastructure: east of Terminal 2, west of Terminal 5 or a new satellite terminal by the new runway; and a proposed alignment of the M25: repositioning it approximately 150 metres to the west, and lowering it by 7 metres in a tunnel and raising the runway height so it passes over the M25.

The airport is also asking for the public to review its plans to manage the effects of expansion on local communities and the environment.

The second part of the consultation relates to potential principles, or ‘rules’, that could apply when designing the new airspace required for an expanded airport.

Changes to airspace are expected to improve resilience and punctuality for passengers while reducing noise, emissions and the number of late-running flights for local communities.

Responses can be submitted until the 28th of March at any of the 40 consultation events held across communities surrounding the airport and also online, via email or post. Parliament is expected to vote on a National Policy Statement in the first half of this year, which will set out the policy framework for Heathrow’s final planning submission.

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director expansion, invites local residents and stakeholders to take part in the consultation.

Emma commented: “When the government announced its support for Heathrow expansion it made a clear commitment to keeping Britain open for business. We want an expanded Heathrow to be the world’s best airport, ensuring that our country and its future generations have the infrastructure they need to thrive.

“We need feedback to help deliver this opportunity responsibly and to create a long-term legacy both at a local and national level. Heathrow is consulting to ensure that we deliver benefits for our passengers, businesses across the country but also, importantly, for those neighbours closest to us.”

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