The Airports Commission will make its interim announcement on 17th December, on short term measures, and its short-list of runway options for the long term.
Although the commission will not report its final recommendations until after the general election in 2015, Sir Howard has pledged to publish a shortlist of options in his interim report.
We do not know at this stage how specific the commission’s shortlist will be – whether it will identify locations only or specific options – for further investigation.
We do know that Davies has already said he believes there is a need for additional airport capacity in the South East.
In its submission to the Davies Commission Heathrow says that a third runway would provide sufficient capacity to maintain UK’s global hub status until 2040 only. It submitted three options for consideration, a ‘North’, ‘North West’, and ‘South West’ option:
- ‘North’: 2,700 homes would be lost in Sipson and Harmondsworth for a short runway option.
- ‘South-West’: 850 homes would be lost in Stanwell and the King Georg VI and Wraysbury reservoirs would need to be moved.
- ‘North-West’: 950 homes would be lost in Longford and Poyle
The airport also has also revealed how a fourth runway may be accommodated into the options:
Heathrow cites as one of the “advantages of the Heathrow option” is that additional capacity could be added gradually as demand requires and financing allows, whereas a new hub airport would require most investment up front based on uncertain future demand. The statement is likely to anger communities already complaining about the blight caused by dithering and uncertainty and that an emboldened Heathrow appears to see land for the taking in historic communities.
“All of the options we are putting forward for three runways have been designed to evolve to four runways if ever required to do so. We have developed a number of options to show this and have evaluated them to present a similar level of understanding of their performance as for the three-runway options. We believe, should the Commission conclude that a four-runway hub airport is the appropriate long-term solution, that through careful option refinement, Heathrow is capable of being developed into a four-runway airport with manageable costs, impacts and benefits.”
Under the “Dual North West” option which would impact Colnbrook most, the M25 would be re-routed again and the M4 would additionally need to be re-routed and tunnelled. The A4 Colnbrook By-pass would be completely removed and the airport perimeter and southernmost runway (of the two planned “North-West” runways) would be moved much closer to residential properties.