Above - the Heathrow of tomorrow (image - Heathrow Airport)
Heathrow has announced its statutory 12 and a half-week consultation on expansion plans will launch on the 18th of June, ending on the 13th of September. This is the latest step for one of the UK’s most important national infrastructure projects, and the responses received will feed into a final planning application. The airport has also released new images showing a proposed new terminal forecourt, as well as a panoramic shot of a future Heathrow.
The latest consultation will be its largest exercise yet and the airport has invested in new technology to show the public its current proposals, including a model of the future airport which uses augmented reality, and a sound booth which features virtual reality to demonstrate the effect of noise insulation on properties overflown by aircraft.
With feedback from previous consultations, Heathrow will be holding events in more locations than previously and, in addition to an extensive national marketing campaign across newspapers, radio, billboards, digital and, for the first time, Spotify, will be contacting 2.6 million households directly encouraging participation.
The consultation follows the High Court’s dismissal of legal challenges against Heathrow expansion and the airport has consistently demonstrated best practice by holding additional consultations at earlier stages of its project development to ensure feedback is incorporated in its plans, and to be as transparent as possible about its emerging proposals.
The plans revealed in this consultation include the consolidated feedback received in the Airspace and Future operations consultation that concluded in March, and previous consultations last year, as well as from Heathrow’s continuous engagement with local communities, local authorities, airlines, and other interested parties.
The upcoming consultation will seek feedback on four key areas:
Heathrow’s preferred masterplan for expansion: what the future layout of the airport could look like, including the runway and other airport infrastructure such as terminals and road access. The masterplan will also reveal the airport’s growth in phases – from runway opening in 2026, to the end masterplan in approximately 2050. This incremental growth in infrastructure will align more closely with forecast passenger growth, and help airport charges remain close to 2016 levels – ultimately resulting in more affordable fares for passengers;
Plans to operate the future airport: how the future three runway airport will be operated, including important elements such as night flights, as well as how potential additional flights before the new runway opens could be operated on our existing two runways;
Assessment of impacts of the airport’s growth: how the airport plans to measure the impacts of expansion on the environment and local communities;
Plans to manage the impacts of expansion: the airport’s plans for mitigating the effects of expansion, including property and noise compensation, a Community Compensation Fund, and measures to mitigate against air pollution and climate change.
Left New terminal infrastructure
(image - Heathrow Airport)
Inviting people to participate in the consultation, Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion, said: ‘Heathrow’s expansion is a project of huge national and local significance, and it is critical to our country’s economic growth. An expanded hub airport will allow the country to access more of the world, create thousands of jobs locally and nationally and it will open up new trading routes. But we can’t deliver these plans alone. We urge everyone to have their say in this consultation, to shape our plans, and to help us deliver expansion in the fairest and most sustainable way.’
Following the conclusion of this consultation and after feedback has been incorporated, Heathrow will submit a final proposal to the Planning Inspectorate in 2020, kickstarting an 18-month approvals process. The decision on whether to grant the DCO will be made by the Secretary of State following a public examination period led by the Planning Inspectorate.