What happens next?
Having received the Airports Commission’s recommendation the Government must now decide whether to act on this recommendation, and give policy support for a new runway to the north west of Heathrow. Heathrow would then have to apply for and obtain planning consent before any new runway could be built.
In December 2015, the Government requested additional evidence before making a final decision on whether to approve expansion. In its Final Report, the Airports Commission set out a series of conditions that Heathrow should meet should expansion be approved. After considering the Report, and undertaking further analysis, Heathrow have committed to meeting and, in many cases, exceeding these conditions.
The Government is now in the process of deciding whether to accept the Commission’s recommendation.
The Government has asked us to provide additional reassurances that Heathrow will develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment.
Whilst there is no timeline attached to the Government’s consideration of the Airports Commission’s recommendations, we recognise that this process has resulted in a time of significant uncertainty for local residents. However we welcome the opportunity to further demonstrate that – as the Airports Commission concluded – expansion at Heathrow can be delivered both responsibly and sustainably.
We are committed to keeping residents informed throughout this process and will continue to provide regular updates.
What is the Airports Commission?
The independent Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, was established by Government in September 2012 and asked to make recommendations on how to best maintain the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation.
The Airports Commission was asked to report on its recommendations by summer 2015.
After three years of extensive consultation, evidence gathering and analysis the Commission has now published its recommendation.
What has the Airports Commission recommended?
In December 2013, and as part of its examination of various options for additional capacity, the Commission included Heathrow on a shortlist of options for providing an additional runway in the South East.
Heathrow’s proposal was one of three shortlisted by the Airports Commission. The other two shortlisted options were the ‘Heathrow Hub’ proposal, promoted by an independent company not connected with Heathrow, and a proposal for a second runway at Gatwick Airport.
Having reviewed the various shortlisted options the Commission has recommended that our plan for a new runway to the North West of Heathrow is the best option for providing additional capacity.
You can find more information on the Airports Commission, and read its recommendation in full, at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/airports-commission.
Where would expansion at Heathrow take place?
Our proposal for expansion would see a new runway built to the north west of Heathrow.
At the start of the Airports Commission process in 2013 Heathrow set out three different proposals which would allow for expansion of the Airport. Our proposal for a new runway to the North West of Heathrow was shortlisted for further consideration by the Commission in December 2013.
As a result of the extensive public consultation we undertook at the start of 2014, we made some significant refinements to our proposal. We were able to reduce the noise and protect more homes by moving the proposed runway further south, closer to the existing runways. The relocation also protects popular heritage sites and avoids costly works to realign the M4/M25 motorway junction.
Find out more about how local residents have helped refine our proposal in our Further information section.
When would a new runway be built?
The Government must now decide whether to act on the Airports Commission recommendation, allowing the expansion of Heathrow to go ahead.
Government approval for expansion at Heathrow would be followed by further consultation and a detailed planning application process.
If Government supports the Commission’s recommendation, we would refine our plans further as part of a detailed planning application. As before, this would involve significant public consultation.
A third runway at Heathrow could be operational by 2025.
What will be the impact on areas around Heathrow?
Expansion at Heathrow will have a range of impacts on the local area.
The physical expansion of the Airport will impact on neighbouring areas. In the event that planning permission is granted for Heathrow’s proposal, we anticipate 750 properties would be subject to compulsory purchase.
In May 2014 Heathrow announced plans to provide compensation for those properties affected of 25% above un-blighted market value plus stamp duty costs and all legal fees in relation to purchasing a new home.
Full details of this announcement can be found here.
Following a public consultation in 2014, Heathrow is also proposing to extend this offer to cover homes that would be in close proximity to a new runway but would not be compulsorily purchased.
Under this compensation scheme, residents living in communities close to the new runway would have the choice to either remain in their home OR sell their home at 25% above market value once the new runway is being constructed.
The new offer would cover approximately 3,750 homes. Homeowners in Poyle, Colnbrook, Brands Hill, Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross would be covered by the improved scheme. Properties in Longford and parts of Sipson and Harmondsworth would be covered by the compulsory purchase area scheme.
Full details of our compensation proposals can be found here.
The Airports Commission has confirmed that Heathrow’s new plan can be delivered with significantly fewer people impacted by aircraft noise than today. This is thanks to improvements to aircraft technology, steeper approaches and the capability of arrivals to land further to the west.
Nevertheless, a new runway will inevitably lead to changes to flight paths. In our technical submission to the Airports Commission, we set out a range of options of what flight paths might look like in the future – this report can be found here. Any changes to flight paths would require public consultation so at this stage it is impossible to say with any certainty where the routes will be.
Following a public consultation in 2014 we announced plans to invest £700m to provide noise insulation for local residents in the event of Heathrow expansion. The proposed scheme would cover a zone based on the 55 decibel noise contour, the preferred measure of noise used by the European Union and the Mayor of London.
This noise insulation offer goes above and beyond UK policy requirements and is comparable to those offered by other European hub airports. In total, Heathrow estimates that over £700 million could be spent through this insulation package.
Full details of our noise mitigation proposals can be found here.
Heathrow expansion will create 70,000 skilled local jobs and 10,000 apprenticeships as well as significant improvements to local transport infrastructure. For more information on the benefits of expansion visit http://your.heathrow.com/takingbritainfurther .
What have the Commission said about the needs of local communities?
As part of their report, the Commission have made a number of recommendations on how expansion should be delivered whilst respecting the needs of local communities . This includes measures designed to limit the impacts of noise and to provide periods of reliable respite for local residents.
The Commission has also made recommendations as to how we can best work with the local community as we work to deliver an expanded Heathrow.
Full details of the Commissions recommendations can be found in Chapter 14 (Respecting the needs of local communities).