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Regulator seeks 'urgent' answers on Heathrow expansion cost and delivery

Heathrow third runway

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport may be dealt a severe blow due to concerns about the timescale and costs of the project, according to the aviation regulator.

Concerns over the runway must be dealt with “decisively and urgently”, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has claimed.

The CAA has threatened to force Heathrow to show evidence of how it would pay for the £14bn runway while avoiding the need to raise costs for airlines and passengers.

In a letter to the Department for Transport, the CAA said that Heathrow must “provide assurance that its revised timetable is realistic” and would “ensure timely delivery” of the expansion.

It comes after a public consultation on specific plans for the third runway was pushed back until June 2019 instead of the first three months of next year.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “We continue to engage with all stakeholders on our expansion plan and look forward to presenting a detailed preferred masterplan for further public consultation next year. We remain on track to submit a planning application in 2020 and the new runway to open in 2026.” 

News of the CAA’s intervention has comes after a High Court judge ruled that a judicial review will simultaneously hear all legal challenges to the government’s plan to build a third runway in March.

Legal challengers of the government’s plans include the London boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which are being backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace.

Heathrow Hub is also challenging the government. It has proposed a plan for Heathrow expansion that does not involve building a third runway.

The House of Commons voted in favour of building the runway at the airport by 415 votes to 119 in June and Heathrow plans for construction of the third runway to begin in 2021.

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