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Heathrow Expansion and its Environmental Impact

Public Meeting

on Tuesday 23rd July at 7.30pm

at Duke Street Church, Duke Street, Richmond, TW9 1DH

Heathrow Airport is consulting on its “preferred masterplan” for expansion of the airport and the environmental impact. The plans include the construction of a third runway, modernised use of airspace and additional flights before the runway opens.

Richmond Heathrow Campaign is organising a public meeting so that residents, and in particular those from Kew and Richmond, can learn about the plans and the consultation.

Key topics:

  • Heathrow’s expanded operations
  • Noise
  • Air pollution from surface traffic and aircraft
  • Impact on climate change

The panel:

  • Chair, Professor Ian Bruce, CBE
  • Nigel Milton, Director of Communications, Heathrow Airport Limited
  • Cllr Martin Elengorn, Richmond Council, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Services Committee
  • Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director, Aviation Environment Federation
  • Peter Willan, Chair, Richmond Heathrow Campaign

Please email questions in advance to There will also be an opportunity to ask questions on the night.

Please tell your friends and neighbours – we look forward to seeing you at the event.



Heathrow Expansion:
Third Runway Need and Aviation Market

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign has issued a report on the Heathrow Third Runway in the context of the need and aviation market. What will it really deliver for London and the UK?

Department for Transport figures show that a two-runway Heathrow can support all UK long haul and domestic business passenger demand until at least 2050. Together with existing spare capacity at other UK airports it is well able to satisfy total UK demand through to 2050. In particular, there is no need for a third runway at Heathrow to meet demand for business travel.

A third runway at Heathrow would make only a minimal contribution to UK aviation. Of the 43 million additional passengers per year it would support:

• 17 million would be cannibalised from growth at other UK airports.

• 16 million would be international transfers who contribute little economically to the UK and almost nothing to the number of destinations served.

• Just 10 million would be additional passengers travelling to and from the UK. These additional passengers are almost entirely taking short-haul flights for leisure.

A third runway at Heathrow would make a negligible contribution to the number of routes served to and from the UK. It would result in a loss of three short-haul destinations, a gain of two long-haul destinations and no change in domestic destinations, in total a net loss of one destination. Only three new destinations at Heathrow would be for economically-important long-haul routes. And there would be just one route to “newly industrialised countries” and no change to “least developed countries”, both of which are intended beneficiaries.

Estimated carbon emission caps would apply even for the two-runway case. A third runway at Heathrow would have to rely on speculative carbon abatement and carbon trading to bridge the gap.

Heathrow is already the world’s most expensive major airport. The costs of expansion and of surface access is likely to have a significant impact on demand and connectivity.
 Once the impact of these costs on demand has been taken into account, is the addition of a third runway to Heathrow even commercially viable?

This links will take you to to the report.

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has also issued a press release, Third runway ‘not needed’ for business summarising this report.



The Impact of Heathrow Expansion on Surface Access

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign has issued a report on surface access to Heathrow. How much will it cost and who should pay for it?

Current and prospective plans for public transport access to Heathrow will barely catch up with increasing demand from Londoners for commuting and local travel, and passengers journeying to and from the existing two-runway Heathrow.

There appear to be no published plans to meet the increased public transport demand that a third runway would create. If not met, this demand would result in overcrowding on public transport and higher road congestion, with more journey delays and greater pollution.

The cost to the UK could be up to £25 Bn, measured as a net present value over 60 years. For the increased demand generated by a three-runway Heathrow, the costs needed to avoid taxpayer subsidy represent as much as £33 per passenger journey.

The costs of providing this increased capacity should be included in the economic value of Heathrow expansion. They should not be passed to taxpayers.

These links will take you to to a summary of the report and the full report.

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has also issued a press release, ‘Benefits’ of expansion cut by £25bn as public transport improvements fall short summarising this report.


Airports National Policy Statement

In 2017-18 we responded to the Department for Transport’s revised document.
Click here for a summary & the link to full response.

In 2017 we submitted eleven responses to Government consultations,
containing over 140 pages pages of detailed information. You can read these starting here.


A 3rd Runway at Heathrow
won't help the UK Economy
says the Government’s own report

The objective of the Government’s Davies Commission was to
“identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation”.

Sir Howard Davis’s summary recommended a third runway at Heathrow.
But here’s what’s inside the report itself:


1. It would just move flights into the South-East from the rest of the UK.

A 3rd Runway would add 41 million passengers per year in the over-heated South-East but take away 58 million from airports outside the South-East.

So where’s the benefit? And how is this compatible with the Northern Powerhouse?


2. It would shrink the UK aviation sector and reduce the number of destinations served.

The number of UK passengers per year would decrease by 4%. For the UK as a whole, the numbers of long-haul, short-haul, and domestic destinations would stay the same or reduce.

How is this “... maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation”?


3. International transfers would take up most new capacity, delivering negligible value.

Over 50% of the new capacity would be used for an extra 22 million International to International transfers, delivering little benefit to the UK as these passengers don’t step outside the airport.

How does this add value to the UK?


4. The investment offers no compelling return.

The proposed investment of £17 billion would result in a net present value over 60 years
of £1.4 billion. That’s well within the margin of error.

And the benefit may even be negative once full allowance for noise, air pollution
and the £20 billion that TfL estimate for new transport links is included.

What kind of value is this?



There are many other good reasons not to expand Heathrow

Air pollution: Exhaust pollution from traffic travelling to and from Heathrow is already killing people. Existing airport operations already result in a breach of legal air pollution limits. It seems unlikely that a third runway could be operated while remaining within the law.

Noise: Heathrow noise levels already breach World Health Organisation guidelines and affect far more people than any other airport in Europe. A third runway would expose several hundred thousand more to aircraft noise for the first time.

Carbon: Heathrow’s growth would be constrained by limits on carbon emissions: there simply won’t be enough headroom or affordable carbon credits for a third runway to operate.

Surface access: Transport for London (TfL) has stated that up to £20 billion will be needed to provide surface transportation for a third runway. The alternative would be more crowded trains, more road congestion, and even more dangerous air pollution.

Public subsidy: The Government would need to commit to commit tens of billions of pounds of grants and loan guarantees to cover airport expansion and the supporting surface transport infrastructure.

Competition: It would entrench Heathrow’s dominance of UK intercontinental flights and put at risk the quality of service that air travellers experience.



Opposition to a 3rd Runway at Heathrow is overwhelming

Over 70% of people in Richmond and Hounslow are against a 3rd runway at Heathrow.

Even British Airways is against a 3rd runway at Heathrow.


It’s mainly the foreign owners of Heathrow who want a 3rd runway.
Heathrow employs top PR companies to influence the Government.
They have deep pockets but shallow arguments.
Nothing they say should be taken at face value.


Our Position

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign’s view is that expected future passenger demand can be met by substantially reducing transfers at Heathrow – most of which neither increase the number of destinations served nor benefit the wider economy – and with predicted higher occupancy and larger aircraft. No additional runways need be built.

In particular, we are opposed to any expansion at Heathrow. This would increase noise misery for many in West London and blight new areas of the city. Instead, Heathrow’s operations should be managed to meet existing national and international public health and noise guidelines. This includes the abolition of all night flights.