The previously shelved public consultation on the planned third runway at Heathrow has been reopened due to new evidence, according to the Department of Transport (DoT). It will seek to gauge public support for the plans in light of the new findings.

DoT has published a series of new reports relating to the environmental and human cost of expanding an already-bustling airport in a heavily populated area.

The government’s sustainability appraisal expects the plans to have a negative effect on air quality, noise and biodiversity. It also says that the Gatwick second runway scheme would cause less damage than either potential scheme at Heathrow. The plans will have to mitigate against any significant deterioration in air quality or the whole scheme could be thrown into jeopardy.

To build or not to build…

London’s airports are forecast to be full by the mid-2030s with Heathrow already operating at capacity and Gatwick at capacity during peak times.

This has left the government with the dilemma of either being framed as anti-business if it does not act to address capacity, or anti-environment if it goes ahead with expansion. It is worth noting that should they go ahead with construction, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050, as legislated by the Climate Change Act, will be seriously undermined.

A Heathrow spokesperson said “Expansion will support our plan to make Heathrow a great place to live and work, doubling the number of apprenticeships at Heathrow to 10,000, with fewer people impacted by noise than today, and an ambition for carbon-neutral growth.”

Attracting Controversy

A third runway at Heathrow would result in an extra 700 planes a day would pass through it. This equates to an extra 260,000 flights each year, increasing flights by 54% to 740,000 a year.

Paul Mcguiness, Chair of the ‘No 3rd Runway Coalition’ said “We are horrified that the government has even considered succumbing to the shameless, no-expense-spared browbeating of Heathrow, as the airport pursues its own narrow, financial self-interest.”

Friends of the Earth London campaigner Sophie Neuburg said “Airport expansion will bring more noise, pollution and misery to local communities.

“Bold and urgent measures are needed to head off the looming threat of catastrophic climate change. It’s simply pie in the sky to think we can build a third runway at Heathrow while keeping UK targets for slashing emissions.

“These short-sighted plans will also add to London’s pollution crisis. The courts have already warned the government to clean up London’s illegally dirty air as soon as possible – we need action now, not more empty promises tomorrow.”

  • Overwhelming response as 121 sites from across Britain bid to become a Heathrow logistics hub and help build Britain’s new runway
  • Heathrow’s logistics hubs set to revolutionise UK construction – pioneer off-site manufacturing to reduce overall cost of expansion, cut local emissions and create a new industry for the UK
  • Key plank of Heathrow’s plans to use £16bn expansion project to boost growth in every corner of Britain

Over 120 sites from across Britain have applied to help build an expanded Heathrow, an overwhelming show of support for the nation’s most critical infrastructure project.

In April, Heathrow invited communities across Britain to showcase how their area could help build expansion by hosting one of four UK logistics hubs. The hubs are a key part of Heathrow’s plans to promote SMEs and ensure every corner of Britain benefits from the building of an expanded Heathrow by decentralising the supply chain.


Expanding Heathrow will be Europe’s largest privately-funded infrastructure project. By promoting the up-take of off-site manufacturing on such a high-profile project, Heathrow is aiming to drive a step-change in Britain’s construction industry and give Britain a leading-edge in an untapped new sector that can then be leveraged to support other major projects around the world. Communities across Britain are keen to take up the challenge with such an overwhelming number of sites bidding for the chance to upskill their communities with a world-class construction legacy for decades to come.

Heathrow will be the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of logistics hubs – aiming to build as much of the project off-site as possible. The hubs will work by pre-assembling components off-site before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow just as they are needed. This method will boost the project’s efficiency and cut emissions by transporting components to site in fewer lorries. Research by WPI Economics earlier this year revealed that integrating an offsite manufacturing supply chain into a major project has the potential to reduce the overall cost of the project by as much as 25% whilst speeding up delivery by up to 30%.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said “Expanding Heathrow is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really boost growth across Britain – and not just with more capacity at the nation’s hub airport, but from building it. Over 100 communities across Britain have put themselves forward to host one of our pioneering logistics hubs and we couldn’t be more impressed by the applicants. Together we’ll build an expanded Heathrow – boosting growth outside London, leaving a world-class construction legacy for the UK and delivering expansion faster, cheaper and with less impact on our local communities.”

All applications will be considered by Heathrow and a list of potential sites is expected to be announced later this year. Suitable locations will demonstrate the logistics hub will have a positive economic impact in their area as well as having good connectivity, access to a relevant supply chain, strong local skills, support in their region and adequate facilities. In a Memorandum of Understanding with the Scottish Government, Heathrow agreed that one logistics hub will be based in Scotland.

‎Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has criticised ministers for delaying the final decision of where to build a new runway in the South-East for up to a year.

The Mayor accused the Government of ‘causing unnecessary uncertainty for British businesses already struggling with Brexit.’

His comments came after Downing Street postponed a final decision on expanding Heathrow or Gatwick until late 2017.

The decision means Article 50 – the formal move triggering Britain’s exit from the European Union – is set to be taken before any final decision on airport capacity in the South East.

Khan said “The Government’s decision to yet again delay deciding where to build a new runway will cause unnecessary uncertainty for British businesses already struggling with Brexit.

“Now more than ever, businesses need certainty and stability in order to make investment decisions and to keep jobs in Britain. Instead they are getting dither and delay.

“Now it’s time to get on with building a new runway at Gatwick, which can be built quicker, cheaper, and without the years of legal and political battles that Heathrow clearly faces.”