Airports Commission Launches Public Consultation

Report questions bid costings and councils highlight noise impact

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Third runway 'north west' - image courtesy of Heathrow Airport

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Shaping Heathrow's North West Runway Proposal - A public consultation


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The Airports Commission has launched its public consultation on proposals for additional runway capacity at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The 12 week consultation will run until Tuesday 3 February 2015.

The report states that the plans to build new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick will cost substantially more than the bidders have estimated. The Airports Commission says a second runway at Gatwick would cost £2bn more than the bid suggests and that the two separate plans to expand Heathrow are predicted to cost £3-4bn more.

The consultation is being run by the Airports Commission which will make a final recommendation on which expansion scheme should be approved after next year’s general election.

Sir Howard Davies, the head of the commission, said no decision had yet been made. He said:" We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria. It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity."

He continued: "Responses to this consultation will be a valuable addition to our evidence base and will directly inform our recommendation to the government when we publish our final report in the summer of 2015".

Rob Gray, Campaign Co-ordinator, for Back Heathrow said:
"The Commission has been very clear that building additional capacity at Heathrow would provide a much needed boost to our local economy and huge economic benefits for generations to come. An extra runway at Heathrow could benefit the economy by up to £211 billion, whilst also creating almost 180,000 jobs by 2050. By 2030, 41,000 of these jobs would be at the airport alone. Proposals to expand Heathrow would benefit the UK as a whole, boosting jobs right across the country, and not just in west London and the Thames Valley."

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, has today focused on the noise impact on local residents if Heathrow is expanded. He said:“At first glance there is some bad news for Heathrow in here. The Commission has rejected the airport’s noise impact figures and says up to 690,000 people will be affected by noise if a third runway is built. Even when the Commission factors in Heathrow’s highly questionable projections about quieter planes and steeper arrival paths the number of people affected is still up at around 550,000.

Heathrow noise map

Cllr Govindia continued: “The Commission’s new noise impact maps will come as a shock to hundreds of thousands of Londoners as they realise a three runway Heathrow means aircraft noise over their homes, schools and parks. Flights to Heathrow start at 4.30 every morning so anyone who values their sleep should make their voice heard.

Wandsworth Council and its 2M group partners will publish detailed analysis of the consultation documents in the weeks ahead

November 12, 2014