The Airports Commission has today (11 November 2014) published for consultation its assessment of proposals for additional runway capacity at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
The consultation presents the commission’s analysis of the proposals shortlisted by the commission last year: two for expansion at Heathrow Airport and one proposal at Gatwick Airport.
It invites public comment on the commission’s detailed consideration of each proposal. This includes analysis of the cost of each proposal, the effect on communities of noise, property loss and construction, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts.
Sir Howard Davies said:
Since our Interim report last year we have undertaken a huge amount of work. We have carried out a thorough assessment, across a comprehensive range of subjects, looking at the benefits and impacts of each proposal.
We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria. It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity.
Responses to this consultation will be a valuable addition to our evidence base and will directly inform our recommendation to the government when we publish our final report in the summer of 2015.
The information included in this consultation will enable respondents to give their view on the strengths and weaknesses of each short-listed option. It also invites comment on the commission’s review of the underlying evidence and analysis. These comments will then be taken into account and used to validate and challenge the commission’s assessments, ahead of the final report in the summer of 2015.
During the consultation the Airports Commission will hold open discussion sessions for local stakeholders in both the Heathrow and Gatwick areas. The consultation will close on 3 February 2015.
The Airports Commission was set up by the government in November 2012 as an independent body to examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK’s position as Europe’s most important aviation hub. It will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.
The Airports Commission is chaired by Sir Howard Davies. Its other members are:
- Sir John Armitt
- Professor Ricky Burdett
- Vivienne Cox
- Professor Dame Julia King
In its interim report, published in December 2013, the commission identified a need for 1 net additional runway in London and the south east and shortlisted for detailed appraisal and public consultation three proposals to deliver this capacity:
- a proposal from Gatwick Airport Ltd for an additional runway to the south of the existing runway at Gatwick Airport
- a proposal from Heathrow Airport Ltd for an additional runway to the north west of the existing northern runway at Heathrow Airport
- a proposal from Heathrow Hub Ltd for an extension to the existing northern runway at Heathrow Airport to operate as 2 separate runways
In January 2014, the commission published for consultation a ‘Draft appraisal framework’ that it intended to use as the basis of its assessments of the 3 shortlisted options. The finalised ‘Appraisal framework’ was published in April 2014.
In its Interim report, the commission also announced its intention to carry out further study into the feasibility of an airport in the inner Thames estuary before taking a decision on whether or not to add this option to its shortlist. Following a wide-ranging call for evidence and 4 detailed feasibility studies, in September 2014 the commission announced its decision not to shortlist the inner Thames estuary option.
The detailed appraisal outputs for the 3 shortlisted options have been published for consultation today. The commission’s consultation documents have been published on GOV.UK.
The documents published today include:
The commission’s has also published the updated scheme designs submitted by the short-listed promoters in May 2014.
The consultation period will run for 12 weeks until Tuesday 3 February (2014).
For further press enquiries, or to request an interview with Sir Howard Davies, please contact the numbers above.