On Tuesday (8 January), Heathrow launched its Airspace and Future Operations consultation and is asking local communities to help shape the airport’s plans for its future airspace – both for the existing two runways and as part of the proposed expansion.
This is the latest milestone for Heathrow expansion following the landmark Parliamentary vote last summer. An overwhelming majority of MPs voted to approve the Airports National Policy Statement, which provides support for Heathrow expansion, by a margin of four to one. The launch of this stage of the consultation keeps Heathrow on schedule to deliver expansion, which is part of the key trading infrastructure Britain will need to succeed post-Brexit.
The eight-week Airspace & Fugure Operations consultation is set to run from 8th January until 4th March and will seek feedback on several key topics:
- Airspace change for an expanded Heathrow: the local factors we should consider in different geographic areas when designing future flight paths.
- Airspace change to make better use of our existing two runways: the local factors we should consider in different geographic areas when designing new flight paths for some aircraft arrivals on our existing two runways.
- Future operations for an expanded Heathrow: how we will operate our three runways in the future – this includes managing noise; respite through runway and airspace alternation; directional preference and night flights.
There will be over 30 consultation events across local boroughs throughout the consultation period, where members of the public will be able to ask questions and provide their feedback. A full list of dates, times and locations can be found here.
The consultation documents and feedback forms are available online for the entire duration of the consultation period, as well as at a number of document inspection locations may also be submitted via post.
This major public consultation follows on from the airport’s first consultation on expansion, which was held from January to March 2018. Heathrow will hold a further consultation in June on its emerging plans for expansion including the new runway and associated physical infrastructure, as well as presenting options to mitigate and manage the effects of the airport’s growth.
Delivering expansion responsibly is a key priority for Heathrow and the process of open and transparent public consultation is crucial to building the right plan for the future airport. Heathrow is holding a multi-stage consultation process to ensure that stakeholders have the best opportunity to be involved throughout the process. This approach to consultation will help shape Heathrow’s future plans, and ensure it creates a legacy of jobs, growth and trade for a truly global Britain while delivering on its commitments to local communities.
Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion, urges local people to participate in the consultation, saying:
“Heathrow’s aim is to design a sustainable, fair and more efficient future airport while connecting the UK to global growth. It is crucial that our plans maximise the benefits of expansion across the country, including for the communities closest to us—and working in partnership with our neighbours is just one way of ensuring they do so. We are committed to delivering expansion responsibly, and we encourage everyone to have their say and take part.”