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Driving to Heathrow? Rethink your journey urges Former Deputy Mayor of London

Heathrow has announced the appointment of Val Shawcross as Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum (HATF), an independent group established to help improve accessibility and public transport around the airport.

(image - Heathrow Airport)

At the Energy, Environment and Transport Westminster Forum, Heathrow confirmed Val will replace current independent chair John Pope, who is stepping down following five years in the role. Under hiss lead, the HATF have helped the airport prove that it is possible to grow while keeping airport-related road traffic down. Over the last 20 years, Heathrow’s passenger numbers have risen by almost 80 per cent yet efforts to move more people onto public transport has seen airport related road traffic remain broadly static. It is now Val Shawcross who will be tasked with working with the airport in the development of its surface access strategy for expansion, overseeing its implementation and then monitoring Heathrow’s performance against the targets contained within it – ultimately aiming to increase public transport use, protect local air quality and reduce emissions.

Left - Val Shawcross (Heathrow Airport)

During her political career, Val held the role of London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport and so brings extensive experience that will help ensure Heathrow continues to develop a strong and environmentally focused public transport system as the airport expands. Having previously voiced concerns over some aspects of the airport’s expansion plans in her role at City Hall, Val is now working with the airport to ensure expansion delivers on its promises, by leading a 10-strong team of HATF Board members who hold expertise in including improving accessibility, increasing public transport and influencing public behaviours. The Forum will play a primary role in providing the necessary oversight and monitoring of Heathrow’s surface access strategy against the National Policy Statement targets for expansion.

Speaking at the Westminster Forum, Heathrow’s Director of Surface Access Tony Caccavone, said: 'I am delighted to announce that Val Shawcross will bring her expertise to Heathrow as the new Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum. Val will play a pivotal role in developing our public transport strategy and will hold us to account on our commitments to protect air quality and improve our integrated transport network, helping more passengers to reduce their emissions.'

Shawcross herself added: said: 'With expansion in progress, it's more important than ever that Heathrow makes serious efforts to reduce the environmental impact of passengers and workforce travelling to and from the airport.

“There's a huge job to be done shifting people from polluting traffic into cleaner, more environmentally friendly transport - walking, cycling and using buses and rail as well as zero pollution vehicles. My job will be to help push Heathrow along the right path, holding them to account very robustly and facilitating the input of stakeholders."

The HATF was first established in 1995, tasked with developing and delivering initiatives to encourage more sustainable patterns of travel to and from the airport. To date, the group have helped to make Heathrow the UK’s best-connected transport hub, with one of the busiest bus and coach stations and the only dedicated non-stop express airport rail link in the UK.

The HATF Board is set to formally meet quarterly with the first Board meeting led by Shawcross due this Summer.

About the HATF

An Airport Transport Forum (ATF) is a DfT specified engagement group that brings together a major airport and local stakeholders.

Heathrow’s ATF is called the Heathrow Area Transport Forum (HATF) and is a partnership between various organisations in the private and public sectors seeking to improving accessibility and increase public transport use to, from and in the area around Heathrow.

Heathrow’s National Policy Statement (NPS) for expansion requires Heathrow to develop and monitor the effectiveness of the Surface Access Strategy in conjunction with the HATF.

The Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

This event brought together members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials, local government, transport and related sectors, as well as air quality experts to discuss the next steps for addressing air quality in the UK.

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