Heathrow expected to seek third runway southwest of airport

Heathrow expected to seek third runway southwest of airport

Additional capacity at the UK's biggest airport is vital for Britain's economic success, Heathrow’s owner is expected to argue today.

It is thought the Heathrow executives could suggest a third runway be sited to the southwest of the airport rather than to the north as was originally envisaged.

The Heathrow runway proposals will be presented to the government’s Airports Commission.

The commission will also receive proposals announced on Monday from London mayor Boris Johnson, who wants Heathrow closed in favour of a new hub airport on the Isle of Grain in north Kent, an expansion of Stansted or on an island in the Thames estuary.

The southwest siting is expected to be one of a number of proposals put forward by Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews and his management team, the London Evening Standard reported.

The original third runway plan to the north of the airport would have affected the villages of Harmondsworth and Sipson.

This plan was given the go-ahead by the Labour government in January 2009, with work expected to start in 2015 and be completed by 2019. But when the coalition government came to power in May 2010, the third runway scheme was ruled out.

Building the new runway towards Stanwell Moor village in Surrey might mean fewer properties would need to be demolished and would mean less noise for those close to the two existing runways.

Matthews, speaking at a public session of the Commission last week, warned that Heathrow would soon be left behind by rivals in Europe if it was not allowed to expand.

He said Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris airports had already committed to, or were in the process of, developing enough capacity to accommodate an average of 700,000 flights a year. Meanwhile, Heathrow was limited to 480,000.

All airports must submit their plans to the commission by Friday (July 19).


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