What local residents need to know
- What is the Airports Commission?
- When will a decision be made?
- When would a new runway be built?
- Why have Heathrow submitted three options instead of one?
- Which of these proposed options does Heathrow prefer?
- When will I be able to see the detailed plans?
- Are you intending to expand Heathrow to four runways?
- Will a new runway create more noise?
- What will be the impact on local communities?
What is the Airports Commission?
In November 2012 the Airports Commission was launched to examine the need for additional UK airport capacity and to make recommendations on how this could be met in the short, medium and long term.
When will a decision be made?
The Airports Commission is expected to make recommendations to government regarding its preferred option by summer 2015.
All outline proposals were submitted to the Airports Commission in July 2013 and a list is available on the Airport Commission website. After considering these proposals and comments, the Commission is expected to produce a shortlist of options and publish its views in an interim report by the end of this year.
Our proposals were submitted to the Commission in July. If any of Heathrow’s outline proposals are shortlisted, we are committed to undertaking significant work with local authorities and communities to develop more detailed plans.
When would a new runway be built?
If any of the three options proposed by Heathrow were taken forward, the target completion dates are between 2025 and 2029.
The submission of outline options is the first step in this process. If the Airports Commission recommendations were accepted by government, final approval for any new runway development would be unlikely to be given before 2020.
Why has Heathrow submitted three options instead of one?
From the many options which we have assessed, we are putting forward two lead options and one benchmark option for adding runway capacity at Heathrow.
Our two lead options locate a third runway at Heathrow to the northwest and southwest of the existing airport. The benchmark option locates a longer third runway to the north of the airport.
Which of these proposed options does Heathrow prefer?
We are asking the Commission to consider all of the options which are being submitted as part of their process.
However the benchmark option to the North of the airport – although the quickest and cheapest option for delivering a third runway at Heathrow - could have a comparatively high noise and property impact.
We hope that this benchmark option will help illustrate to the Commission the benefits of the two lead options proposals to the north west and south west of the existing site.
When will I be able to see the detailed plans?
These are the outline proposals Heathrow are asking the Airports Commission to consider as part of their process. All of the options, therefore, are in outline format and will require further development at the next stage of the Airports Commission process if they are shortlisted.
Are you intending to expand Heathrow to four runways?
We believe that a third runway delivers sufficient capacity for the foreseeable future. However every one of the options has been designed so that it could be developed into four runways should it be required.
Will a new runway create more noise?
Quieter planes, quieter operating procedures, noise mitigation, and operating restrictions are reducing the impact of aircraft noise at Heathrow. Our proposals for a third runway at Heathrow will see noise reductions continue.
Although the total number of people affected by noise will reduce there will be some people who experience more noise and flights overhead than today and others who experience less. The exact flight paths for any new runways would be subject to further consultation.
While the total number of people within Heathrow’s noise footprint will reduce, there will be communities under the flight paths to the new runway who will experience aircraft noise for the first time. In areas of high noise or areas experiencing a significant increase in noise we believe free noise insulation should be offered to residents. In the highest noise areas we will offer above market value compensation for anyone who wants to move house.
There is a detailed breakdown of the work that has gone into mitigating against the impact of noise and our noise insulation schemes in our summary document.
What will be the impact on local communities?
A third runway would have the greatest impact on those people whose homes would need to be compulsorily purchased or would be newly exposed to high levels of aircraft noise.
Heathrow is committed to ensuring the people most affected by a third runway are treated fairly. We will ensure that compensation greater than market value is offered to anyone whose home needs to be purchased. If Government policy supports a third runway then a property market support bond scheme will also be put in place to guarantee the value of property until a new runway is constructed and address property blight resulting from exposure to new aircraft noise.
Heathrow already offers a number of noise insulation schemes covering residential property and community buildings such as schools.
We also offer help for those people who want to relocate from the highest noise areas. We recognise that new schemes would need to be developed if a third runway at Heathrow was supported by Government.
We would want to consult with the local community on the nature and scope of those new schemes. Should any of Heathrow’s options be shortlisted, we would seek to work with the Commission to develop compensation schemes that could be consulted on and put in place as soon as possible following a final announcement in 2015.
We also recognise the importance of working closely with our neighbours on other elements of our proposals. Our options are in outline form at this stage and do not have approval from Government. It would be premature to begin formal consultation but we will be proactively engaging with local communities to explain our proposals.
If any of our proposals are short-listed by the Commission we would seek to work with local authorities and local communities to develop the plans in further detail.
There is more information on these issues in our summary document.