“Where is the money to pay for all of this?”: Campaigners hit out at Heathrow’s unfunded promises

Stop Heathrow Expansion has responded angrily to a new promotional video from Heathrow in which it urges residents to tell their MP to back its “community focused” plans.  The campaign group insists that the airport’s plans for communities are unfunded and “full of the usual garbage”.

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“It’s time for Heathrow”: Heathrow’s early CGI images hid most of the village within new forests, swirling mists and huge new waterways.  Those are gone – but so are the planes.

A new “fly-through” CGI video released by Heathrow on Wednesday shows that a new runway itself is a relatively small part of Heathrow’s expansion plans.

The video, “It’s time for Heathrow“, flies over the enlarged site to reveal new roads, terminal buildings, hotels and retail space.  It also shows the huge new parks and green spaces that will be “created” from farmland south of Colnbrook.

Heathrow says it current expansion plan will see at least 200,000 fewer people affected by significant noise “thanks to a variety of mitigation measures and new technology”, while a package of measures worth £700 million will provide property and noise compensation for impacted residents.  Stop Heathrow Expansion says the numbers just don’t stack up.

Where is the money to pay for all this? £700m won’t cover it and noise compensation. Where is the legal document that details the deal? Not everyone will be eligible.

The video was released a few days ago with a media release suggesting the airport has employed a completely new approach to its last attempt to expand in 2009, insisting that “the new approach has focused on the community and ensuring the entire UK benefits”.  Ahead of speculation that Theresa May’s Government is set to make a decision in the next few weeks Heathrow is bombarding neighbouring residents with letters and emails urging them to express their support for expansion to their MP.

Stop Heathrow Expansion has been angered by the latest campaign, insisting it is “full of the usual garbage” and pointing to the lack of basic community facilities in the villages north of Heathrow after 70 years.

The airport executives want you to believe that ‘those affected’ will be compensated. Ha! Will it buy you a comparable house near family, friends and job?

But it saves its ire for the airport’s claims that residents impacted will be fairly compensated:

“The airport executives want you to believe that ‘those affected’ will be compensated. Ha! Will it buy you a comparable house near family, friends and job? There are also locals whose homes will be INSIDE the airport yet the boundary line defines them as ‘unaffected’ according to this film. (Look into the small print and it directs you to a website.)

“In fact, the Heathrow CEO told Davies in December 2014 that it would buy up to 3750 homes, considered unliveable by the inhabitants, under the same terms as the homes in the first demolition. No mention of them now. Where is the money to pay for all this? £700m won’t cover it and noise compensation. Where is the legal document that details the deal? Not everyone will be eligible.

“The film works on the principle that you can fool some of the people some of the time. Heathrow hopes that those dumb people are our MPs and gives viewers (who fall for this fantasy) an easy route to tell their MP to support a runway. Heathrow gets your details too – win, win for them but lose, lose for you.”

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Terminal 3 will be demolished to make way for new hotels, retail space and business facilities while Terminal 2 will be expanded to form “Heathrow East”.

The planned rebirth of Heathrow

Heathrow’s latest campaign to get a positive decision from the Government employs a computer-generated video that brings together many of the images seen over the last few months with new depictions of how the airport could be transformed.

Planes actually seem incidental in the new images, which feature striking new cityscapes, parks, free-flowing motorways, and rapid transit systems.  But they show that Heathrow plans more than just an incremental expansion if it gets the go ahead – rather, it wants to take the opportunity to completely redesign itself and finally move away from the legacy of its 1950s layout.

In addition to the new runway – which at 3,900 metres will be “long enough for even the largest aircraft (A380s) to operate on” and increase Heathrow’s capacity to 740,000 flight movements to allow it to compete with Paris Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Madrid – a redesigned Heathrow will see:

  • Terminal 2, seen above, will be expanded to form “Heathrow East”
  • Terminal 3 will be demolished to make way for new hotels, retail space and business facilities.
  • Terminal 5 will be expanded with a new Terminal 6 for form a “Heathrow West”
  • A series of satellite terminals are planned between East and West to create “an efficient ‘toast rack’ formation”. 
  • A new underground track transit system is planned to connect the terminals.  Connection times could still be as long as 45 minutes between terminals indicating the immense scale of the redesigned airport.
  • 5 rail links and easy HS2 connection via Old Oak Common

The media release does not mention the changes proposed to the M25 which, along with other related transport infrastructure changes proposed, have been put at up to £18 billion by Transport for London.

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