RHC Response to
Airports Commission consultation
on Additional Runway Capacity

Summary of our response

  • Even using the Commission’s own model, increased runway capacity at Heathrow does not add significant value to the wider UK economy.
  • Re-distributing passengers and flights from the regions results in economic dis-benefits.
  • Noise costs are substantial, impacting 1.5 million people based on WHO standard levels.
  • The value of international transfers is substantially overstated and with it the single airport hub concept.
  • A dispersed model that makes best use of all five London airports without any new runways is the best solution.
  • Building a new runway will need massive public subsidy.
  • There is still substantial uncertainty regarding the impact of carbon emissions, air pollution and surface access congestion.

For a link to the consultation and our response document, please see our RHC Davies Responses page.

Can you help us?

The next six 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

Richmond Heathrow Campaign
at No 10

Photo of campaigners outside the door of 10 Downing Street

On Tuesday 3rd February Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith, eight other MPs, and campaigners against Heathrow expansion including Peter Willan of the Richmond Heathrow Campaign staged a protest at 10 Downing Street.

This was to remind the Prime Minister of his statement before the 2010 election, when he said “no ifs, no buts, there will be no 3rd runway”.

John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said:
“We are deliberately targeting Downing Street because the decision about a new runway will be a political one. This event once again demonstrates the cross-party nature of the opposition to a 3rd runway.”

More information about this event can be found
on the AirportWatch website.

 
   

OUR POSITION

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.

   
 

All Party Parliamentary Group releases third report

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Heathrow and the Wider Economy has issued its third report, analysing the claimed benefits of Heathrow expansion.

The report asks:

1. Can the Commission please explain its recommendation for an additional runway, increasing capacity by up to 260,000 flights, when there is current spare capacity of over 3,000,000 flights across the UK?

2. Will the Commission be recommending any changes to the current Government subsidies to air travel, which create an unjustified cost to the taxpayer?

3. How will the Commission incorporate the significant bias of Heathrow towards leisure and transfer flights in its recommendation?

4. What view does the Commission have on the anti-competitive nature of expansion of Heathrow?

5. Does the Commission agree that expansion of Heathrow could create no additional airport capacity, operating within Carbon limits?

6. Can the Commission explain why it has put forward a proposal to expand Heathrow that requires Government Financing, contrary to current regulations?

 

All Party Parliamentary Group releases second report

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Heathrow and the Wider Economy has issued its second report, covering the Impact of Heathrow Airport’s expansion on the number and distribution of UK passengers and destinations.

In summary, the APPG reported that:

1. Examination of the Airports Commission’s passenger forecasts suggests that on any reasonable assumption there would be no overall increase in the number of UK passengers, flights or destinations as a result of Heathrow’s expansion. Instead, the expansion would be fed almost entirely by re-distributing growth from other UK airports and in particular theregional airports.

2. This raises serious doubts about there being any net benefit to the wider UK economy brought about by Heathrow’s expansion - not only because of the lack of any incremental growth but quite possibly due to a significant negative impact on the regions and the overall efficiency of the UK economy.

3. Connectivity was examined in terms of the number of destinations and service frequency with special mention of international transfers. These represent a large incremental addition to Heathrow’s forecast passenger demand and this report raises doubts about their value to the UK economy.

 


Heathrow Expansion and the Airports Commission

In December 2013, 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

In September 2014 the Airports Commission announced that the Inner Thames estuary airport proposal had not been shortlisted due to its very high financial and environmental costs.