Heathrow has launched its six week consultation today, asking local communities for their views on how to improve the shortlisted runway proposal to the north west of the airport. The results of the consultation will help Heathrow understand what is most important to local residents and will be used to refine the runway proposal before it is resubmitted to the Airports Commission in May.
140,000 households and businesses likely to be most impacted by the proposed plans will receive booklets, and anyone outside this area can share their views online or attend a local drop-in events. We want to encourage people to ask questions and influence the plans.
Chief Executive Colin Matthews said, “We believe our proposal to expand Heathrow is the right way to deliver the capacity Britain needs to connect to fast growing economies around the world. This consultation is to make sure we correctly understand what local people value and that we can take their views into account as we refine our proposal. The more people that tell us their views, the more successful the process will be. We know that opinion is divided locally about whether a third runway should go ahead or not, but everyone has an interest in making sure that if a third runway does happen it is developed in the best way possible.”
The consultation is a continuation of Heathrow’s engagement with the local community which has been on-going throughout the Airports Commission process. The results will be shared with the Commission for its independent review.
For more information, details of where the consultation events will take place and how you can give us your views, please visit heathrow.com/localcommunity
Notes to editors
Why is the consultation happening?
In its Interim Report in December the Commission said that there is a clear case for a new runway in the South East and shortlisted three options, two of which included a third runway at Heathrow.
The Commission expects the promoters of the shortlisted options to further develop their proposals during 2014 and carry out detailed sustainability assessments that look at the social, economic and environmental impacts of each option.
While we can’t speed up the Airports Commission’s work programme and provide certainty for communities about whether a third runway will happen or not, we can work with local communities to improve our proposal for Heathrow. We can make sure that if the Government decides that a third runway at Heathrow should go ahead, then the option and any mitigation requirements have been developed with input from local communities at an early stage.
What will you consult on?
The new options we submitted to the Commission last year were in outline form only and further work is needed to develop our plan for the shortlisted North-West runway proposal. In developing our short-listed runway option for the Commission, we want to know what issues matter most to people who might be affected by Heathrow’s expansion or who have an interest in the airport. And, wherever possible, we want to ensure that our proposal addresses those issues and reflects the views of those around the airport.
What if residents say they don’t want a third runway at Heathrow at all?
This is not a consultation about whether there should be a third runway at Heathrow or not. That is a decision for the Government and the Airports Commission, not for us as the operators of Heathrow. Our responsibility is to work out the best way of delivering a new runway if the Government decides that the project should go ahead.
Why are you consulting now?
Consulting local people on proposals at this early stage means there is a real opportunity to change plans in response to their feedback. The downside of early consultation is that many people will have questions for which we do not yet have answers. For example, we do not have flight-paths for the runway options at this stage, nor do we have detailed plans and proposals for how various areas will be developed. This is an opportunity for residents and interested parties to have their say but not be the last opportunity. We will continue to consult with people as we revise and improve our plans.
What questions will you ask?
In particular, we are seeking feedback on how we have proposed to manage aircraft noise, an issue which we know is of concern to many people who live close to Heathrow. Taking into account the Airports Commission programme of activities for 2014, this consultation will seek a high level understanding of those social, economic and environmental issues which matter most to people affected by Heathrow’s expansion in the context of our outline plan.