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Heathrow Expansion



Following a review of options led by Sir Howard Davies, the government gave the green light for Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) to bring forward an application for a third runway at Heathrow. 

This option was chosen over either extending the existing Heathrow north runway or building a second runway at Gatwick airport.

Heathrow Airports Limited submitted a proposal for a new runway north-west of the current airport which would go over and bridge the M25, south of the M4 running parallel to the county border. The proposal would also require new terminal capacity to increase passenger numbers from 76 million to 130 million per year by 2030.


Heathrow Expansion Stats

  • Passenger growth: 78 million in 2017 to 130 million passengers per annum in 2030
  • Heathrow is the largest UK port by value (26% by value of UK trade) and expansion could double the value of freight by 2040 and 95% cargo in hold of passenger aircraft
  • Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) research indicates that 1 in 5 jobs are supported by the proximity and access to Heathrow
  • Davies Commission said expansion means 75,000 new jobs in London and the South East, and 180,000 overall in the UK by 2050, with value to the economy of £211Bn
  • Land around the current airport will be required to support the expansion. Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) will work with HAL to consider the mitigation necessary to enable expansion

 What it could mean for Bucks

  • Deliver up to 77,000 additional local jobs and some 10,000 apprenticeships by 2030
  • Improve reliability and frequency of public transport connections including links with Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH)
  • HAL have promised to deliver ‘no net increase’ in road traffic as part of the expansion. This commitment is supported by the government in the National Policy Statement.


Air Quality and Transport: The main cause is not emissions from planes but rather the surface traffic in the Heathrow and West London area.

HAL proposes establishing an airside ultra-low emission zone by 2025, to improve community health through cleaner air.

The Government has repeated its pledge to the Davies Commission that ‘50% airport passenger journeys made by public and sustainable transport by 2030, supporting no more airport-related cars on the road, so local areas can thrive without increased congestion’. To achieve this, the County Council and other transport bodies will need to agree a phased programme of investment by Government and HAL in rail links, capacity and public transport.

Buckinghamshire County Council’s Position on Heathrow Expansion

The Government consulted on a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) between February and May 2017. BCC submitted a response to the consultation, which following a County Council vote in April 2017, supported expansion subject to HAL and Government providing appropriate mitigation for local Buckinghamshire residents and business, particularly those in the Ivers area. BCC submitted a response to a second round of NPS consultation which closed in December 2017.

BCC submitted a response to Heathrow Consultation 1 (CON1) in March 2018. Heathrow sought the public and council’s views on emerging proposals in terms of what the expanded airport could look like, how it might operate, and how Heathrow might best mitigate against the potential impacts. Heathrow also consulted on airspace principles which will guide the future design of flightpaths when the third runway opens in about 2025.


HAL’s planning application under the 2008 Planning Act – formally known as a Development Consent Order (DCO) - will be considered by a set of independent examiners appointed by the Planning Inspectorate.

HAL are working towards DCO approval in 2021 and construction of the third runway the mid-2020s.

The expected airport reconfiguration will be complete by 2030, enabling a capacity of 130 million passengers per annum through the airport.

Further information

Heathrow Expansion website

What Heathrow means for Bucks



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Last updated: 29 March 2018

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