UK’s Transport Committee raises doubts on Heathrow expansion plans

26 March 2018 (Last Updated March 26th, 2018 14:36)

The UK Transport Select Committee has called for more measures to be introduced before Parliament approves a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The UK Transport Select Committee has called for more measures to be introduced before Parliament approves a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Parliament is set to vote in a few months with regard to the runway at Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Airport plans to file an application for development consent by March 2020. However, the committee in the latest report on the Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) has recommended several steps that need to be taken by both the airport and the Department for Transport before Parliament will give its support for the expansion.

“The Northwest Runway scheme is the highest cost expansion option and one of the largest privately financed infrastructure projects anywhere in the world.”

In its final report, the committee has recommended that unless Heathrow meets a number of conditions on landing charges, night flights, pollution and public transport, community impacts and compensation as well as keeping costs to passengers down, its expansion should be put on the backburner.

The report noted that the government should press ahead with its NPS which would give permission for planning for the airport’s expansion to proceed if approved by Parliament.

Transport Select Committee chair Lilian Greenwood said: “The Committee’s recommendations improve the NPS and reduce the chance of a successful legal challenge.

“The Northwest Runway scheme, as set out in the draft NPS, is the highest cost expansion option and one of the largest privately financed infrastructure projects anywhere in the world.

“At present, the draft NPS does not guarantee that passengers will be protected from the cost risks associated with the scheme. The Secretary of State must set out how airport charges will be held down.”

Greenwood further added that the government and Heathrow have made efforts to mitigate these impacts, but safeguards on air quality, surface access, connectivity, costs and charges and noise should be strengthened.

Welcoming the Parliament’s move, GMB London region secretary Warren Kenny said: “The statement by the Transport Secretary that construction could begin in 2020 if Parliament during the summer gives the go-ahead for outline permission for the third runway at Heathrow Airport is welcome.

“The latest population growth projections for London by 2039 from ONS is for London to grow from 8.7 million to 10.9 million, an increase of 24.9%. London, with a growing population, cannot manage without more airport capacity.”

Parliament is set to vote on the third runway in a few months.