Heathrow Expansion and the Airports Commission

In December, the Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies released its interim report shortlisting the options that would be considered to meet future UK aviation needs. The three options were:

Heathrow Hub proposal for extending Heathrow's Northern Runway
A second Northern Runway
at Heathrow


Heathrow Airport's proposal for a new North-Western Runway
A new North-West Runway
at Heathrow


Heathrow Airport's proposal for a new North-Western Runway
A new Southern Runway
at Gatwick

The Commission would continue further study of the ‘Boris Island’ option for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary and will give a view on whether it is a credible proposal later this year.


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

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



Appraisal Framework Consultation

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign recently responded to the Airports Commission’s consultation on the criteria and framework to be used to evaluate the shortlisted options to meet future UK aviation needs.

Airports Commission:
Appraisal Framework Consultation

Appraisal Framework Consultation Web Page

Airports Commission Consultation Document
Due 28th February 2014

Airports Commission Consultation Outcome
Published 2 April 2014
Noise is covered in Chapter 5, pages 55-63.

Thumbnail of front page of Appraisal Framework response


Richmond Heathrow Campaign Response

Read the RHC response to Appraisal Framework

Key Points in the RHC response

We recommend the Appraisal Framework should be based on a reduction in noise that satisfies both current NPF objectives and the WHO Standards, whichever is the lower.

We recommend that the Appraisal Framework provide for the sharing of the noise benefits of quieter aircraft between the aviation industry and the community.

We oppose the Commission’s recommendation of Early Morning Smoothing.

We recommend that the Appraisal Framework should include an objective to comply with EU limits on air quality.

We question whether the UK Aviation’s projected carbon emissions of 25% of the national quota in 2050 are sustainable without a significant negative impact on the rest of the UK’s economy.

We recommend that there should be a gradual replacement of international transfers at Heathrow with local demand. London is the hub, not Heathrow.

We suggest the meaning of the term “do-minimum” is not sufficiently clear in the Draft Appraisal Framework. The lack of well-defined “do-minimum” options may compromise the evaluation process.

We question the financial viability of any new runway requiring large state subsidies to keep down ticket prices and increase the rate of return for private investors.

Night Flights Consultation

The Richmond Heathrow Campaign responded to the government consultation on night flights ending on 31 January. You can see further details on our Past Consultations page. The proposed three-year regime to October 2017 makes no material attempt to reduce night-time noise. The Davies Commission has even recommended more arrivals before 6am.

We say the Government should introduce a new 5 year regime with a Heathrow Night Flight Ban. At the very minimum there should be reduced average noise levels, further limits on the noisiest aircraft, and no scheduled flights before 5:30am (instead of the current 4:30am). These measures are needed to reduce the negative noise impact on people’s health, quality of life and human rights and to achieve World Health Organisation standards by the prescribed year 2030.

We say steps should be taken to revise the Heathrow regime now, in time for further consultation and decision before the general election in 2015, with implementation no later than October 2015 for a 5 year term.

We say there should be no additional flights before 6am, even for a trial period. Reducing stack sizes and reducing the need to use both runways can be achieved by managing flight arrival times and smoothing schedules later in the day rather than increasing average night noise and early flight arrivals before 6am.

We are currently assessing whether the Government has followed its own rules in extending the current regime without change to 2017.

Can you help us?

The next nine months will be critical to the challenge of Heathrow’s expansion proposals, short-term proposals and night flights. We are keen for more people to help develop the arguments and promote the campaign. The issues include noise, pollution, surface access, project financial viability, safety etc. No particular expertise is necessary as guidance is available from an experienced RHC team but interest in gathering evidence, or technical issues, aviation, the law, economics, finance or journalism would be most useful.

If interested, please get in touch. You can email us at action@richmondheathrowcampaign.org