Why Heathrow?
Why Heathrow?

2009 third runway vs Now

Since 2009, we’ve learned from previous plans and have taken a new approach to expansion – one built on sustainability and ensuring the whole of the UK benefits.

Our new plans can be delivered within strict UK climate-change targets and provide a combined £3.5 billion for environmental mitigation and local community compensation.

compensation above market value for homes compulsorily purchased
fewer people, at least, within Heathrow's noise footprint
less carbon produced from Heathrow energy use
local jobs created

A third runway will be further west than previous proposals, which means that aircraft approaching over West London will be higher in the sky.

By introducing steeper angles of descent (which we are currently trialling), we can cut noise even further for surrounding communities.

The aircraft using Heathrow will also be quieter. We will phase out the noisiest aircraft altogether and incentivise airlines to switch quickly by charging the noisier ones more to land.

By investing in new technologies and practices the airport compared to today will consume less water and less waste per passenger, with over 80% of waste recycled.

Key differences between now and 2009:

new approach infographic

  • Runway location and length: The north-west proposal is further west and involves a 1,300m longer runway than the 2009 proposal. This will allow for planes to take off and land further down the runway, helping to reduce the amount of noise in local areas. It also provides more resilence for the airport than the shorter length proposal as any aircraft will be able to land on it – even A380s.
  • Increased compensation offers: Our noise insulation scheme includes an increase of £610m in funds compared to the 2009 plan. We’ve also increased our property compensation offer to 25% above market value, plus legal and stamp duty fees, to those affect. More information here.
  • Less noise: It’s estimated 200,000 fewer people will be affected by noise within a 55db contour compared to today. Runway location, steeper approached, cleaner and quieter aircraft will all contribute to turning down the noise at Heathrow – building on the many noise mitigation measures we’re already using.
  • Increase cargo capacity: The new proposal places a much higher emphasis on improving cargo facilities than in 2009, supporting the increase of freight travelling through Heathrow in recent years. This will further build on the £180m cargo overhaul we’ve recently announced.
  • Improved public transport connections: It’s estimated approximately 60% of passengers are expected to use public transport to and from the airport by 2040 thanks to a raft of planned rail upgrades. Crossrail, Western Rail Access, HS2 via Old Oak Common, an upgraded Piccadilly Line and Southern Rail Access are some of the schemes that will dramatically transform passenger journeys to Heathrow from across the UK and in London.
  • Greater emphasis on improving air quality: Our new plans involve numerous mitigation measures that will ensure air quality continues to improve around Heathrow with expansion. The Airports Commission has confirmed Heathrow expansion can take place within environmental limits as a result and that it is compatible with meeting the UK’s Climate Change targets on carbon emissions. Find out more, here.

Improved community conditions

Our new plan has involved significant community consultation and a commitment to making sure the benefits of expansion far outweigh any negatives.

More recently, we responded to the Airports Commission environmental and community conditions. Find out more, here…


Sources: Taking Britain Further, Volume 1 (Heathrow, 2014), Heathrow’s North-West Runway: Air and Ground Noise Assessment (AMEC, 2014),  Airports Commission Final Report (Airports Commission, 2015). All other information can be found via this website.

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