A NEW, four runway hub airport just west of Heathrow is the best option to increase aviation capacity in the south east
So says the think tank Policy Exchange in a new report that recommends runways for the new Heathrow being built in a ‘toast rack’ formation, in pairs parallel to one another, over the M25 to the west and stretching into Slough.
The Poyle Industrial estate, and swathes of Wraysbury and Colnbrook, as well as homes in Stanwell Moor, would be demolished.
Heathrow in its current form would cease to exist, the runways used for associated buildings and other structures for the mega airport.
The terminals, other than T4, would be retained, and it is estimated that the development would cost in the region of £10billion.
The report goes on to propose that the Heathrow Express, Crossrail, the Piccadilly Line and shuttle routes be extended.
It does, however, note that aircraft noise would be a key issue, and the report states the proposed location would mean aircraft would fly higher over west London, creating less noise disturbance for those on the ground.
The paper – Bigger and Quieter: The Right Answer for Aviation – suggests that capacity would be doubled, and therefore bans on the noisiest aircraft and night flights between 11pm and 6.15am could be imposed by 2030, the estimated delivery time of the new airport.
It identifies Heathrow as the ideal location for expansion because of existing transport links and businesses, and asserts that it would be a ‘cost-effective hub airport that works for passengers, airlines and those who live nearby’.
Failing that, land just south of Luton would be the next best place for an airport of similar design, says the report.
A third runway through Sipson, as planned by the previous government, is not deemed to be the best long-term option, and expansion of Gatwick and Stansted – as well as an airport in the Thames Estuary – are ruled out on the grounds of cost and poor location.
Last month, the government launched an independent commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to draw up options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation.
It is due to make its recommendations by 2015, but some critics believe that action should be taken sooner.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, a vocal opponent of Heathrow expansion, said in a speech at City Hall last week: “The Government programme to address the looming aviation capacity crunch in the UK is far too slow, and I am hugely concerned that their intended timetable sets a course for economic catastrophe. This continued inertia is being fully exploited by our European rivals who already possess ‘megahub’ airports that they intend to use to erode our advantage.”