• 415 MPs across political parties united to unequivocally back expanding Heathrow – ending decades of political debate
  • Approval unlocks billions in growth, secures tens of thousands of new skilled jobs and will ensure Heathrow expands sustainably
  • Heathrow will now prepare an application for development consent which will see construction begin in 2021
  • Within the next 12 months alone, Heathrow will sign £150m in contracts with British businesses, creating 900 new jobs and 200 new apprenticeships

In a landmark vote this week, Parliament unambiguously backed expanding Heathrow – ending decades of political debate on one of the UK’s most pressing infrastructure issues. MPs from across political parties joined forces to support the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement. The vote clears the way for Heathrow to submit an application for development consent for the project – unlocking billions of pounds in growth and creating tens of thousands of new skilled jobs across the UK in the early years of Brexit.

Britain won’t have to wait long for the benefits of an expanded Heathrow. Over the next 12 months alone, the airport will sign £150 million worth of contracts with British businesses, creating 900 new jobs and 200 new apprenticeships. Heathrow will also announce the locations of the off-site logistics hubs that will allow businesses across the country to get involved with what will be one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects.

Parliament’s historic vote is the culmination of a rigorous, evidence-based selection process – including review by the independent Airports Commission and the Government – which determined not only that expanding Heathrow offers the greatest benefit to all of the UK, but that it can be done sustainably. Over the past six years, Heathrow has worked with local communities to design an expansion plan that treats local people fairly. In addition to the thousands of new jobs the project will create for local residents, Heathrow has also made binding commitments to deliver a £2.6bn compensation package to local residents, implement a 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights and a triple lock guarantee to meet air quality obligations. Heathrow will also release detailed plans over the coming months to deliver a skills strategy so local residents can benefit from up to 40,000 new skilled airport jobs that an expanded Heathrow requires – an opportunity that has the potential to end youth unemployment in local boroughs.

Today’s vote secures a £14bn private investment for the UK – one of the largest private projects in Europe. It will transform the country’s only hub airport, stimulating growth and opportunities for communities the length and breadth of the UK. With up to 40 new long-haul trading links, double the cargo capacity, more competition and choice for passengers and new domestic flights – an expanded Heathrow will make Britain the best connected country in the world and sends the strongest signal to date that Britain is open for business. With a commitment to deliver an expanded Heathrow affordably with airport charges staying close to today’s levels – it is a huge prize for British business and Heathrow passengers.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said “Parliament has ended 50 years of debate by deciding that Heathrow expansion will go ahead. This vote will see us deliver more jobs, create a lasting legacy of skills for future generations and guarantee expansion is delivered responsibly. We are grateful that MPs have made the right choice for Britain and today we start work to create the best connected hub airport in the world.”

Over the coming days, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to designate the final Airports National Policy Statement approved by Parliament. This will set the policy framework for Heathrow’s northwest runway development consent application. Heathrow is currently preparing to hold a second public consultation on its plans before submitting a development consent order application to the Planning Inspectorate, kick-starting an approval process expected to take 18 months. In addition to Heathrow’s consultation, the development consent process will provide further opportunities for residents and stakeholders to influence Heathrow’s proposal. If Heathrow is granted development consent, construction would begin in 2021 ahead of the new runway opening in 2026.

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.

  • Heathrow to use £16bn expansion to push growth in off-site construction in UK
  • In a first for a major infrastructure project, Heathrow invites communities across Britain to showcase why their area should host one of four new off-site logistics hubs
  • New logistics hubs key to Heathrow’s plans to build as much off-site as possible, making the project more affordable and environmentally sustainable while driving growth across Britain
  • Research reveals growth in the sector could boost Britain’s construction industry by up to £15bn outside London by 2020 alone

In a shake-up of the UK construction industry, Heathrow announced it would use its £16bn expansion project to revolutionise the way Britain builds major infrastructure.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye announced that the airport would be making a major push to support more off-site construction in the UK as it begins to deliver its expansion plans for Britain – a move designed to boost productivity and help rebalance the economy. The announcement comes as new research from economic consultancy WPI Economics revealed growth in the sector could lead to a £15bn boost for the construction industry outside London by 2020 alone.

Speaking to council leaders and representatives from the construction industry, Heathrow kicked-off the hunt for four UK sites to host the new off-site logistics hubs which will help deliver its expansion programme and drive growth across Britain.

Heathrow’s new logistics hubs will pre-assemble components of the expanded airport before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow. By not building everything on-site at one of the world’s busiest airports, the logistics hub will play a key role in supporting the project’s efficient delivery, will make the project more affordable and will reduce emissions by transporting assembled components to site in fewer lorries. The new logistics hubs will also spread the jobs created from the project across more communities in every corner of the UK.

While off-site construction has enjoyed some success in the construction of homes – reducing costs by up to 25% and speeding up project delivery by 30% – the approach has had a limited role supporting major infrastructure projects. With Heathrow expansion set to be one of Britain’s largest infrastructure projects, the airport 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.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said “The global construction industry is set to be worth £15 trillion by 2025 – that’s a huge prize that Britain deserves a bigger share of and Heathrow can help.

“We want to use Heathrow expansion to not only upgrade Britain’s infrastructure, but cultivate a new world-leading sector and drive growth across the whole country. Boosting off-site construction will help make expansion more affordable and environmentally friendly and give Britain a lasting legacy of expertise that it can sell around the world – helping Britain lead the pack in global construction.”

In a first for a major infrastructure project, Heathrow is inviting communities across Britain to showcase why their area is suitable to host one of the new logistics hubs. Suitable locations will have good connectivity, access to a relevant supply chain and strong local skills. Interested applicants should click here to register their interest and complete Expression of Interest questionnaire before 31st July 2017. All applications will be considered by Heathrow and a list of potential sites is expected to be announced later this year.

A new runway at Heathrow will put even more pressure on a declining construction workforce, a leading construction advisor has warned.

Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast, a consultancy and the author of a government review into construction, has said that without radical steps to address its skills shortage, Britain’s construction sector will struggle to redevelop Heathrow alongside the existing pressures of increased housing delivery and other demands likely to be placed on it such as HS2 and Hinkley Point.

Best-case scenarios have put the third runway a decade away – by which time Britain could have lost 20 – 25% of the workforce through retirement and lack of new entrants. All of these factors are likely to be made worse by Brexit. Mark Farmer, who authored the government-backed review, believes serious reforms are needed in order to deliver large infrastructure projects.

The report, titled ‘Modernise or Die: time to decide the industry’s future’, highlights construction’s dysfunctional training model, its lack of innovation and collaboration as well as its non-existent research and development (R&D) culture. Low productivity continues to hamper the sector, while recent high levels of cost inflation, driven by a shortage of workers, has stalled numerous housing and infrastructure schemes as they have become too expensive to build.

With more people leaving the industry each year than joining, the construction workforce is shrinking, placing increasingly severe constraints on its capacity to build housing and infrastructure. Reliance on a fractured supply chain and self-employment also means there is little incentive for contractors to invest in long term training for the labour force.

Crucially, the sector hasn’t raised its productivity in decades so urgently needs to explore ways to make the work less labour intensive, such as through offsite construction. This, in turn, could make a career in the sector more attractive for young people by moving the work from building sites to digitally enabled working in factories.

Mark Farmer, report author and chief executive of Cast, said “Major infrastructure projects like the third runway are crucial for economic growth and this is great news for long term construction demand in what is a very cyclical industry. However, major government infrastructure commitments like this alongside their significant housebuilding ambitions mean more than ever that we need to take affirmative action in addressing the critical issues facing construction’s productivity, resource base and delivery models.”