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NCE readers back Heathrow's new runway expansion plan in poll

NCE readers have overwhelmingly backed a third runway at Heathrow after the airport set out its detailed bid for a third runway.

As of Thursday lunchtime, 47% of respondents to a snap poll on nce.co.uk said they supported expansion at Heathrow in the form of a new runway proposed by the airport operator.

The airport this week put its ability to act as a global transport hub at the heart of a major technical submission to the Sir Howard Davies-led Airports Commission.

The commission has shortlisted three options for increasing air capacity in the South East:

  • a third runway at Heathrow
  • a second runway at Gatwick
  • a third party proposal to extend an existing Heathrow runway.

The commission has not ruled out a new airport in the Thames Estuary but further work has been done on this submission ahead of its consideration for formal shortlisting.

Just 15% of the nce.co.uk poll respondents backed Gatwick’s expansion plan and 3% favoured the independent Heathrow Hub plan to extend on of the airport’s existing runways.

The idea of a new airport in the Thames Estuary was supported by 20%. Nine per cent wanted to consider other alternatives, while 6% wanted no expansion.

A report published by consultant RDC Aviation and its managing director Peter Hind earlier this year says that Britain will be unable to cope with air traffic volumes in the second half of this century without a four-runway airport.

Heathrow operator Heathrow Airport Ltd said in a 51-page summary of this week’s technical submission: “Heathrow is one of the world’s most successful hub airports. “We can decide to build on this strength.

Or we can start again from scratch with a new hub or gamble on uncertain alternative airport models.

“Building on our existing strength at Heathrow will connect the whole of the UK to growth, keep Britain as an ambitious global nation and help the UK win the global race. Starting from scratch will see the UK fall behind.”

The airport operator pointed out that almost four in five long haul flights to and from the UK used Heathrow.

It added: “Only a third runway at Heathrow will connect all of Britain to long-haul markets by pooling together demand from all over Europe. Britain is already losing routes to other European hubs.”

It said work in the nine months since it submitted its original plan to the Davies Commission had allowed it to reduce the impact of the expansion on local people, road users and the environment.

“In this refreshed scheme, we have located the runway further south and closer to the existing runways,” said the report summary.

“This reduces noise impacts and protects more homes and important heritage sites.”

Heathrow said 12,000 fewer people would now be affected by “significant noise”, and 200 fewer compulsory purchases of properties would be required.

The revised scheme also avoids the need to redevelop the M4/M25 road junction close to the airport.

The enlarged Heathrow hub would be connected to High Speed 2, Crossrail and an upgraded Piccadilly line, Heathrow said. It mooted the suggestion of a congestion charge for road travellers to the airport.

Heathrow Airport estimated the cost of its proposals at £15.6bn, of which just over £11bn is airport infrastructure.

It said this would be privately funded, with government support needed for a further £1.2bn of access requirements.

The airport claimed the first flights could be using its third runway by 2025.

  • NCE is planning a full report on the latest details of Gatwick Airport’s proposal in the coming days

Readers' comments (1)

  • Barry Walton

    Do NCE readers back Heathrow? How many of NCE's readers expressed any opinion on where airports should be developed in the South East of England?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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