Heathrow is to reveal detailed proposals for bridging the M25, terminal designs and plans for phased construction during a public consultation on expansion starting in January.
Ideas on how to mitigate environmental impacts from the third runway will be shared with the local community in the 10-week consultation; Heathrow’s first consultation since 2014. It will start on 17 January and run until 28 March.
Originally Heathrow’s expansion plans were due to be published in the summer, but this was pushed back after airlines raised affordability concerns over the £17bn proposals.
Expansion director Phil Wilbraham recently told New Civil Engineer that expansion plans could involve driverless pods taking passengers between terminals instead of an underground transit system. Components such as taxiways and terminals could be built in stages to cut £6bn from the expansion price tag.
Details for several options on how to bridge the M25 are expected to be revealed.
“Over the past year, we’ve been working hard to evolve our expansion plans and have come up with several new options to deliver it more responsibly and affordably,” said Heathrow executive director for expansion Emma Gilthorpe.
“By working together throughout the consultation, the public can help shape our plans and, jointly, we can ensure that expansion delivers for our passengers, businesses across Britain and importantly for our local communities.”
The consultation will take two parts. Part one will focus on infrastructure design options and ways to tackle air quality issues, while the second part will look at future design principles for airspace around Heathrow. It will be the airport’s first formal consultation on its expansion plans in three years.
Heathrow said it had been working closely with the local community and airlines to refine the expansion plans submitted to the Airports Commission in 2015.
Heathrow Hub chief executive Jock Lowe said the independent campaign group’s Aecom-designed proposal for an extended 6,650m north runway could be cheaper at around £9.7bn.
Lowe said: “The three parallel runway system was always going to have a lot of difficulties, and will always be more expensive than our extended runway scheme for the same capacity.”
MPs are set to vote on Heathrow expansion in parliament in the first half of 2018. A second government consultation is ongoing.