What happens next?

Now that the Government has announced that Heathrow is their preferred option for expansion of airport capacity in the South East, our focus shifts to taking the project through the planning and consenting process.

The Planning Act 2008 sets out a number a steps we need to go through to obtain what is known as a Development Consent Order (DCO).

An indicative timeline of the next steps can be found here.

What is a Development Consent Order (DCO)?

The Planning Act 2008 requires Heathrow to submit our application for what is known as a Development Consent Order (DCO). More information about the DCO process can be found here.

What will you be consulting on?

We will consult on our expansion proposals in two stages, with the first consultation planned for summer 2017 and lasting for 3 months. We will seek views on our emerging proposals in terms of what the expanded airport could look like, how it might operate, and how we might best mitigate against the potential impacts, including proposals for compensation and noise insulation.  We will have regard to all feedback received as we continue to develop our proposals.

Our second consultation is planned for summer 2018. At this consultation we will consult on our proposed application, including providing Preliminary Environmental Information on the proposed application.

When will construction begin?

Construction on the main works (including the runway) will begin shortly after the DCO has been granted. It is possible that some early works will take place before then. Such early works, which may be done (for example) to save time, to minimise disruption caused by construction or prepare mitigation early (for example the creation of replacement habitat) will be subject to consultation and environmental assessment as required.

How do I find out if my home will be affected by the construction of the runway?

We run a dedicated Community Relations hotline (0800 307 7996) from Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm. It is staffed by members of our Community Relations team and you can ring to ask questions about any aspects of Heathrow expansion, including impacts on property. A member of our team will be able to answer specific questions about your property, based on the information you are able to provide. If we are unable to help over the phone, or if your case needs to be looked into further, we will arrange one-to-one appointments at the Compass Centre, Nelson Road, Heathrow, TW6 2GW.

Where will the new flight paths be?

We set out a range of options of what flight paths might look like in the future to the Airports Commission (the report can be found here). There are many different ways that flight paths can be designed – depending on whether they are being designed to minimise the total number of people or new people being overflown or to provide respite and share the noise between communities. We hope to consult on these principles as part of our first public consultation, although some may be determined by Government policy (including the NPS).

Any changes to flight paths would require extensive public consultation and will need to go through an Airspace Change Process (ACP) requiring approval by the Civil Aviation Authority. Because of this it is not possible to confirm right now where new flight paths will be.

We understand that means there will be a period of uncertainty for those living around Heathrow. We have developed our plans so that with expansion, we can reduce the number of people impacted by aircraft noise – see our fact sheet explaining how.

Will there be a ban on night flights?

The Government already limits the number of flights which can operate during the night period. At the moment there are on average 16 flights a night the majority of which are scheduled early morning arrivals between 4.30-6am. In May we announced that we would support an extension to the ban on scheduled night flights to six and a half hours from 11pm to 5.30am. We have also said we will support the introduction of this before the new runway opens.

Our proposal will shift the flights currently arriving between 4.30-6am to the 30 minutes between 5.30-6am increasing the amount of time residents have without early morning flights by one hour. There will be no further flights in that half hour period.

You recently announced plans to increase the number of aircraft movements in advance of a third runway being built. How will this be achieved if Heathrow is already full?
We’ve announced proposals that could see the benefits of expansion start to be delivered four years early. This includes proposals for an additional 25,000 flights per year and up to 5,000 local jobs from 2021.

An increase in aircraft movements before a new runway is built will require airspace changes that improve runway efficiency for both arriving and departing aircraft which will enable a small increase in runway capacity. New technologies for arrivals are already being developed and progressed that could deliver this efficiency which would enable us to introduce the 5.30am start time at the same time as the additional flights. Any plans to increase flights would be subject to public consultation and planning approval.

See our pages on Aircraft noise here.

More passengers mean more taxis and vehicles coming to the area, how can you make a commitment that there will be no more airport-related traffic?

We recognise the existing challenges on the road network in the Heathrow area with high traffic levels and local air quality issues. We have developed a strategy that enables growth at Heathrow without increasing traffic on the surrounding road network. There are three key elements of our plans: transforming rail access; making more efficient use of road transport; and continuing to reduce the number of colleagues driving to work.

By the time Heathrow is expanded, and for the first time, Heathrow will be part of an integrated transport network served by 5 railway lines and 5 motorways to the North, South, East and West. This will ensure we continue the trend that has seen passenger numbers at Heathrow double since 1991, but airport-related road traffic remain largely static. We plan to double passenger journeys by public transport from 18 million (in 2013), to 35 million by 2030.

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