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Heathrow and Gatwick Expansion Plans
Heather Church - May 13, 2014

The bosses of Heathrow have set out their revised plans for a new runway at the airport that will be submitted to the commission examining the issue of airport expansion.

The updated plans propose a new congestion charge for vehicles dropping off passengers at the airport, as well as an improved compensation plan for those affected by the building a third runway.

Heathrow airport’s plan for a third runway is one of three being examined by Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission – the other is a new runway at Gatwick and the third is an independent proposal for an additional runway at Heathrow.

The plan put forward by Heathrow Airport is for a 3,500-metre runway to the north-west of the airport and diverting the M25 into a new 14-lane tunnel under the new runway at a total cost of £16.8bn.

Under the proposal, £15.6bn of the total cost would come from Heathrow, with the remaining £1.2bn to be paid by the government to part-fund changes to the surface access route around the airport, with £900m of Heathrow’s contribution used to part-fund these changes as well.

Heathrow said £11.1bn would be spent on building the airport infrastructure itself and a further £3.6bn would be spent on community compensation and mitigating environmental impacts of the new runway.

Heathrow said the scheme could be completed by 2025.

The rival Heathrow scheme put forward by campaign group Heathrow Hub proposes extending the existing northern runway to at least 6,000 metres.

Speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme this morning, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said Heathrow was not working with the Heathrow Hub group on its proposal for expansion.

“We have only been asked to work on the northern runway plan. The extended runway plan is being presented by a different organisation altogether,” he said.

“The reason we like our plan is we’ve just been through a huge consultation with our local communities – 14,000 people have told us what they think – and what they have said is they want to have times of day when planes are not flying over their heads and that’s what our plan delivers.”

Holland-Kaye rejected the idea that expansion at Heathrow was too politically toxic to be delivered.

He said: “I think politicians want to see the long-term economic success of the UK and when they see £100bn of value to the British economy, when they see that there is more local support for expansion at Heathrow than opposition to it, when they see that it can be delivered within the government’s climate change targets, it is deliverable and I think politicians can come together behind this plan.”

Speaking on the same programme, Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said a new runway at Gatwick was more deliverable and would provide a greater boost to the economy than expanding Heathrow.

He said: “What we’re trying to achieve is a more competitive airport market which will benefit not only London and the south-east, but also across the regions of the UK too.

“Also core to our argument is the fact that a runway at Gatwick will be deliverable and after decades of dither … it’s important this time around that we actually come up with a solution that will be delivered and will result in a runway being built.

“The plan that we’re laying down is to truly transform Gatwick – a new terminal, £7.9bn of investment, resulting in an airport that will actually be larger than Heathrow.”

He also claimed that Heathrow’s plan was too politically toxic to be delivered.

“It’s all about competition, it’s about lower fares and more choice for passengers. But the weak case for Heathrow is the fact that it just can’t be delivered.

“As the Mayor says, Heathrow expansion is politically toxic, it’s environmentally too damaging; whereas at Gatwick what we can do is see the expansion go ahead… Gatwick is the deliverable solution.