Backers for a rival Heathrow expansion scheme have urged the government to “see sense” and give MPs the option to choose an extended runway when they vote on expansion this summer.
Heathrow Hub wants to extend the north runway instead of creating a new north-west runway at Heathrow, as proposed under HAL’s current plan.
The group said that law firm DAB Beachcroft has now given the Department for Transport (DfT) an updated National Policy Statement (NPS) which would allow the extended runway scheme to go forward instead of HAL’s third runway.
Heathrow Hub director Jock Lowe claimed HAL’s £14bn plans have “no realistic prospect” of being delivered as he believes the third runway will not meet the criteria necessary to secure a DCO.
He said: “Our extended northern runway proposal is cheaper, simpler and quicker to build than Heathrow’s complicated and expensive 3rd Runway scheme. Even at this stage, it would actually save time and money to adopt our scheme instead.”
Lowe said that the Heathrow Hub scheme, which would see Heathrow’s existing north runway extended by 600m, would avoid disruption to the M25. HAL’s initial proposals would see the third runway breach the busy motorway.
He added: “The Department for Transport has run a flawed process and I appeal to Mr Grayling to see sense and to accept out amendments, so this important piece of national infrastructure can at last be delivered quickly and cheaply.”
Parliament is due to vote on the NPS this summer. If it passes, HAL will pursue a development consent order (DCO) for the third runway.
A spokesperson for the DfT said: “The government has been quite clear that we believe a new northwest runway at Heathrow is the right choice for delivering the international connections our country needs.
“Our analysis shows that this scheme will result in up to tens of thousands of new local jobs, an economic boost of up to £74 billion, and it can be delivered and funded privately at no cost to the taxpayer.
“The Transport Secretary has been clear that expansion should be delivered while keeping landing charges as close as possible to current levels.”
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.