Removing hazardous landfill from Colnbrook could add £½ billion to cost of a Heathrow Third Runway

Excavating and clearing up to 9 million cubic metres of potentially hazardous landfill from the Colnbrook site earmarked for Heathrow Airport’s ‘North-West Runway’ could cost £500 million.

Sutton Road Landfill

The Sutton Road landfill just a few years ago

A report submitted to the Airports Commission from environmental consultancy RSK Group says the cost of the ‘North-West runway’ scheme, already put at £18.6 billion by the Commission, has been way underestimated because it has failed to take into account the nature of the materials buried in Colnbrook.

The Mail on Sunday made the claim over the weekend in an article publicised by the Colnbrook Community Association.

The claim will come as no surprise to Colnbrookians who have long commented on these pages about the nature of contamination – in a time when controls on landfill were far less robust.

Colnbrook's current authorised landfill sites are shown in brown; historic sites are shown in pink.  Source: Environment Agency.

Colnbrook’s current authorised landfill sites are shown in brown; historic sites are shown in pink. Source: Environment Agency.

The report, which will doubtless be seized upon by those opposed to SIFE as well as a Colnbrook Runway, claims that:

  • Up to 9 million cubic metres of potentially hazardous landfill would have to be removed.
  • Heathrow would have to launch one of the UK’s largest EVER land clearance operations.
  • Any operation to treat the landfill would risk releasing hazardous gases and other pollutants.
  • The clean up would encourage vermin and, more important for existing airport operations, birds.

Heathrow disputes the claim, in a report commissioned by rival Gatwick in what has become and increasingly desperate game of tit for tat between the two big players in the new runway competition.  It says its proposals are fully costed.

 

 

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