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Heathrow expansion marches on after surviving legal challenge

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Heathrow Airport Limited’s (HAL) expansion plans are marching on after surviving five simultaneous legal challenges at the High Court mounted by rival bidders, environmentalists, London mayor Sadiq Khan and local councils.

In the end it was less of a survival and more of a trouncing as judges ruled against 26 grounds for challenge, with 21 not even held to be arguable.

Despite the ruling, it has not all been plain sailing for Heathrow’s operator. Rival expansion bidder Arora Group has launched the first stage of a consultation on its proposals to expand the airport, after raising concerns about HAL’s existing “monopoly position in relation to the provision of airport operation services and related services at Heathrow Airport”.

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham called for the third runway plans to be halted and be replaced by expansions at Manchester and Birmingham airports, with the case for High Speed 2 rebuilt around this proposal. 

HAL will begin procuring construction partners at the end of this year while construction of the third runway is scheduled to begin in 2021. Contractors will be sought for a range of disciplines including demolition, site clearance and utility diversions.

Speaking to New Civil Engineer, Heathrow expansion programme director Phil Wilbraham said: “Initially we will be starting with demolition, site clearance and utility diversions. Then we will go into a major civil engineering project which will be around things like earthworks. We have got a lot of earth to move around underneath the runway. We will be moving roads like the M25, the A4 and the A304. We are moving some rivers as well.”

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