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Heathrow reveals updated expansion proposals

Heathrow Airport Ltd has kicked off its 10 week public consultation with a raft of updated proposals for expansion.

Plans to move a section of the M25 150m to the west, shared with delegates at New Civil Engineer’s Airports Conference last year, have been officially revealed  – consultation documents will be available later today.

Part of the motorway will be lowered by 7m and put into a tunnel and the new runway will be raised to cross over the top of the M25.

In October, expansion director Phil Wilbraham told New Civil Engineer that expansion could result in driverless pods taking passengers between terminals in place of an underground transit system.

Several options are being put forward for new or expanded terminals, which Heathrow has said could cut £2.5bn from the £17bn estimated expansion cost.

Originally Heathrow’s expansion plans were due to be published last summer, but this was pushed back after airlines raised affordability concerns.

“We want an expanded Heathrow to be the world’s best airport, ensuring that our country and its future generations have the infrastructure they need to thrive,” said Heathrow Airport executive director for expansion Emma Gilthorpe.

But the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) stressed that air quality concerns could still derail Heathrow’s expansion plans.

“On air quality, the scale of the problem means that any measures that Heathrow may be proposing will be pretty much irrelevant,” said said AEF deputy director Cait Hewitt.

“No one should assume that a decision to expand Heathrow is done and dusted. There are still big questions about environmental impacts that only the government can answer.”

Last year hotel chain Arora Group worked with Bechtel on alternative runway plans which would not breach the M25.

The consultation will run until 28 March.

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