4 runways 4 Heathrow?

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  • Anonymous


    Are we heading for yet another u-turn on Heathrow expansion?

    The UK government Transport Select Committee is now proposing a third runway and even the prospect of a fourth.



    I’ve thought the debate has now moved on from 3rd runway to a 4th (or in theory say turning Gatwick from 1 to 3) as I think to play catch up and the length of time any will actually take to get done if only a 3rd runway at LHR was built by the time it was completed then a need for a 4th would be required (and then there would be the debate of short sightedness of past politicians). If Heathrow does grow it is only honest to the people of the area that if that is what is decided then they should make no bones about the fact it will grow to 4 as a minimum. Then people can make more long term plans about living in the area.

    Not to say the debate can’t include a new airport as some advocate but the debate should be about 2 new runways at the same airport – or a new build 4 runway airport (or even 6?) and have some long term planning for once.

    Also the wider debate is how we make the chosen airport more integrated with High Speed Rail, local rail, buses, roads and how we can keep environmental impacts to a minimum. Not everyone is thrilled by ever growing air travel and its effects on the environment.


    It’s not the UK Government Transport Select Committee.

    It’s the UK Parliament’s Select Committee, which is a big difference.

    It’s chaired by a Labour Politician, and the Committee simply being used as a stick with which to divert attention from the excellent proposals for a greenfield 24/7 four runway integrated hub which would re-invigorate the East of the capital and relieve pollution and congestion to the west of London which would only be massively increased by further expansion at Heathrow.

    If LHR was to move significantly to the West, as proposed, there would still be massive public infrastructure investment on already congested and very expensive land to connect it to the existing links, without developing any new economically productive areas.

    We’re all agreed a four runway solution is needed; building it on a congested, expensive site without addressing concerns over the existing over-London noise and chemical pollution doesn’t solve the existing problems with Heathrow, and nor does it provide for future expansion should it be needed (for either terminals or runways).

    Heathrow is not easy to integrate with existing sea transport as an Estuary solution would be.

    Heathrow would also still have to largely close for six hours every night – 25% of any new capacity gone right there – and not convenient for some Far East and South American flights.

    Best to wait until the Davies Commission produces its interim report at the end of this year.


    I do however believe that an additional runway at Gatwick once the Council negotiated moratorium is lifted in 2019 – but they should start building it now. Regardless of how the Heathrow/Estuary Airport debate progresses.



    Listening to both the Labliar chair of the Commons’ Transport Select Ctte and Boris the Buffoon Johnson, aka Mayor of London, and the latter made some rather telling points. Whereas the TSC were all over the Isle of Grain/Estuary proposal on cost and environmental grounds, they were remarkably reticent over the likely costs and environmental impacts of the proposal (from an acquaintance of mine) to shift the LHR runways to the west and build four instead of two.

    Thankfully, I would expect the Government appointed Commission to do a rather more thorough and rounded analysis rather than an entirely partisan hatchet job.


    No apologies for copying and pasting my thoughts on 3 different threads generated by the same government leak tactiics

    VK…..What you are now seeing is the tried and trusted methodology of drip,drip,drop of news…….Our equivalent of the Potomac 2 step….

    I listened to Louise Ellman on radio 5 live this morning……Forget her Labour credentials, she was definitely being interviewed in her role as Vice chairman of the Select Committee!!

    The questions I would now be asking is timescales and 3 or 4 runways at LHR !


    And it goes on and on an on and……on. But there is still no decision on either a new airport or extra runways in sight.

    These people are, while demonstrating their unbelievable level of incompetence, hurting everybody in the London area. LHR can’t grow, the economy is hurting, people living around LHR are kept in the dark with respect to noise levels, flight tracks, value of properties, etc.

    These politicians are a disgrace, no matter which party they represent.

    They better take a look at the competition: in the Netherlands the government has taken steps to build a 7th runway (yes: seventh) at AMS. Land has been earmarked for this extension and the start of the building is awaiting the final decision. And the next extension of the single terminal building is starting very soon.

    This means that in a part of a country that is a densely populated as the southwest of England and views its airport as an essental part of its economy steps are taken to have as many runways as all of the airports surrounding London combined.

    We elect politicians to lead this country and do whatever is necessary to improve our lives and the economy we all depend on. In stark contrast to some countries near to us our politicians seem to be unable te perform according to these requirements.

    Where have we gone wrong?


    VK – small point but as you corrected me on which committee was reporting, I shall correct you back as the article clearly states the Transport Select Committee.

    Bottom line is that government appears incapable of making a decision, sticking with it and taking the action required to relieve airport congestion in the South East.

    In the meantime our continental neighbours continue to grow at our expense.



    I fear the LHR option is now a done deal……all this is now a merry dance to get us all into our usual shrug of the shoulders behaviour!

    Don’t know how old you are……but…..I recommend you watch some old episodes of ” Yes Minister”…….a very accurate potrayal of political shilly shallying

    In particular how Sir Humphrey works…..


    744, yes I was drawing attention to the difference between your use of the word’s “Government” and “Parliament”, which are different entities, not the issue of whethere it was Transport or any other Select Committee.

    The suggestion that “MPs” or the Government have called for Estuary Airport to be dropped is just lazy reporting on the part of some of the press.

    It’s really only the Labour-chaired Transport Select Committee which has said that – certainly no vote has been taken on it, and it’s certainly not government policy.


    744 also makes a good point about the Government appearing incapable of making a decision.

    It’s clear that this decision is one of the most important infrastructure decisions the country will ever face – on a par with the decision by Churchill to prepare for war in the mid/late 1930s. We can appease with a sticking plaster at LHR, or we can deliver a game changing hub on the Thames Estuary or elsewhere.

    It’s clear to me a four runway Hub is needed – where it’s sited is all that’s uncertain.

    BUT it should be clear that this is such a political hot potato, that it will also be central to the Election Campaign and any decision must have a strong mandate, all party support and not be subject to swiftboat action by political point scorers.

    Some are simply opposed to “Boris Island” (more accurately the Thames Hub) because it is supported by the mayor himself
    We’re already seeing the Labour Party being disruptive in today’s Select Committee report, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    While far from ideal, it’s essential the decision is delayed until a General Election, and once the Government is decided it moves swiftly in the next term to deliver the solutions, both interim at Gatwick and Stansted and longer term at a Hub, wherever that is sited.

    If any Government tried to implement it now, and especially because of the Coalition being openly split on expansion, it would get kiboshed and be even less likely to be delivered.


    We can see from the master plan for the new Beijing Daxing Airport that it has 8 runways. 4 of these are in 2 close pairs on either side of the central terminal complex, which is exactly what would work well at an expanded Heathrow site.


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