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Row deepens as Heathrow denies vetoing runway plan

Heathrow r3 north west option cropped

Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) has dismissed claims it vetoed an alternative runway plan put forward by independent expansion campaign Heathrow Hub.

Speaking at a Commons transport committee hearing this week, transport secretary Chris Grayling told MPs Heathrow’s new north-west runway had been chosen as the government’s preferred option partly because the airport “would not sign up to” proposals for an extended 6,650m north runway.

Grayling said: “The extended northern runway scheme didn’t deliver as much capacity, and also had the simple complication that we didn’t know for certain we could do it, because Heathrow would not sign up to it.”

Heathrow Hub chief executive John Lowe said Grayling’s comments showed Heathrow had “vetoed” the group’s £9.7bn scheme.

But HAL said it had never vetoed any proposals and highlighted the benefits of the £14bn north-west runway scheme.

A HAL spokesperson said: “Heathrow did not ever veto any plan. As the Secretary of State identifies there were several issues which led to the government choosing a north-west runway at Heathrow.

“In the end, the government followed the advice of the Airports Commission which after its 2.5 year, £20M study - the biggest ever into the issue - found a north-west runway delivers on all fronts including economic value, safety and benefits to local communities.”

Heathrow Hub wants to extend the north runway to around 6,650m, dividing it in half with a central buffer zone to allow simultaneous take-off and landing.

Grayling later told MPs the government will ask for private investment proposals for a southern rail access scheme over the next few months.

Under current plans a 13km rail link would run from Chertsey in the South East to Heathrow. Aecom has already expressed interest in financing the scheme, which could run through a tunnel.

 

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