London Heathrow Airport has launched its 12-week statutory consultation on expansion and unveiled its preferred masterplan for the project.
The Airport Expansion Consultation runs from June 18 until September 13, 2019, and gives the public the opportunity to provide feedback on Heathrow’s proposals for the future layout of the airport, including the new runway and other airport infrastructure such as terminals and road access.
The public will also be able to have its say on plans to manage the environmental impacts of expansion, including a proposed Heathrow Ultra Low Emissions Zone, Heathrow Vehicle Access Charge and a proposed 6.5-hour ban on scheduled night flights.
The Airport Expansion Consultation also reveals plans for the airport’s growth in phases – from runway opening in approximately 2026, to the end of the masterplan in approximately 2050. This incremental growth will mirror the forecasted growth in passengers and help airport charges remain close to 2016 levels, delivering more affordable fares for passengers.
In addition, the consultation is seeking feedback on:
- Plans to operate the future airport:how the future three-runway airport will be operated, including important elements such as night flights, and how potential additional flights could be operated on the existing two runways;
- Assessment of impacts of the airport’s growth:Heathrow’s preliminary assessment of the likely impacts of expansion on the environment and local communities;
- Plans to manage the impacts of expansion:Heathrow will set out its plans for mitigating the effects of expansion, including property compensation, noise insulation policy, a community fund, and plans to mitigate environmental effects including new measures to reduce congestion and emissions and a ban on scheduled flights at night.
The plans revealed in this consultation incorporate the extensive feedback gathered from the airport’s first public consultation on expansion, which took place from January to March 2018, and the Airspace and Future Operations Consultation held from January to March 2019, as well as from continuous engagement with local communities, local authorities, airlines, environmental stakeholders and other interested parties.
Responses to this consultation will inform Heathrow’s application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) – the planning consent required for the project – which is expected to be submitted to the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport next year.
The consultation will be Heathrow’s largest and most innovative public consultation to date, with 43 consultation events to be held during the 12-week period. As part of this consultation, a website will also be available with all the information about Heathrow’s proposals, videos to help explain the plans, and an online feedback form to assist as many people as possible to participate and have their say.
Hard copy consultation documents will be available to view in 42 different locations across local communities. Heathrow has also invested in new technology to bring the plans to life, including a physical model of the future airport which features augmented reality, sound booths to demonstrate the effect of noise insulation on properties overflown by aircraft, and a CGI fly-through video.
Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, urged local people to participate in the consultation, and said, “This consultation is an opportunity for people to have their say on our preferred masterplan, so it’s really important that as many people as possible take part. We look forward to hearing your views.”
Heathrow cannot, however, expect to hear favorable views only. Arora Group chief executive Surinder Arora told Passenger Terminal Today, “We’re not impressed with HAL’s [Heathrow Airport Limited] plan. We fail to see how it can stay within its £14bn [US$17bn] budget or deliver the project on time. It’s too elaborate, almost like they want to build an entire city at the airport rather than focus on the passenger. We will do it for less money, quicker, and, for the first time ever, we will set a benchmark for HAL to be measured against.”
Last year Arora Group, the chief landowner at Heathrow, launched a rival planning application for the airport expansion.