Heathrow to hold consultation to choose between “a ripper” or “a strangler”
Heathrow is to investigate whether its proposal for a third runway in Colnbrook has stronger local community support than the alternative plan shortlisted by Davies for an additional runway through Poyle. However, HACAN have compared the choice between choosing between a “ripper” and a “strangler”.
Heathrow Airport Holdings is expected to launch a public consultation with local communities soon that could play an important role in determining whether it sticks to its proposal for a Colnbrook runway or swings behind a plan by former pilot Jock Lowe to extend the airport’s northern runway through Poyle, according to the Financial Times.
The Hub plan was the unexpected inclusion on a shortlist of options to increase capacity that was published last month by the Airports Commission.
Heathrow regards aircraft noise as the biggest barrier to its expansion but Davies has acknowledged a Colnbrook runway would expose new communities to jet noise. However Heathrow Hub’s plan for a Poyle runway would offer less scope for respite because the extended existing northern runway would be used simultaneously for arriving and departing aircraft.
We believe this principle [of runway alternation and respite] remains important for local communities and we plan on asking people for their views early in 2014.
Local communities are likely to be split over the choice. HACAN chairman John Stewart said:
… for residents it is like being asked to choose whether you preferred being murdered by Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler.
If the consultation shows people feel less strongly about respite, but are opposed to new communities being exposed to aircraft noise, the airport may throw its weight behind the Poyle runway.
Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, said last month that Heathrow Airport Holdings’ proposal was the “most attractive in terms of practicability”, but Heathrow Hub’s “imaginative” plan merited additional examination.
The commission asked for more investigation of respite issues ahead of its final report.