The planning process for the UK’s Heathrow Airport expansion is now firmly underway, as the airport today launches what is set to be one of the largest public consultations in the country’s history. Plans include repositioning the alignment of the M25 in a tunnel and raising the runway height so it passes over the M25.
A Heathrow Airport Limited document states, “We have looked at options to bridge the runway over the M25, to tunnel the M25 under the runway (our previous design concept to the Airports Commission), or divert the M25 around the west end of the runway. The new level of the M25 will be determined by design standards so that it works with the existing J15, which we are not planning to change.
Our current thinking is to re-position the M25 carriageway approximately 150m to the west, lower it by approximately 7m into a tunnel and raise the runway height by 3 to 5m so that it passes over the M25 between J14a and J15. The motorway will then re-join its current route.”
For the next ten weeks, Heathrow will seek views on how to shape its plans so it can deliver the huge opportunities of expansion while keeping to the promises it has made to local communities and meeting strict environmental tests.
Over the past year, Heathrow has been working alongside local stakeholders and airline partners to evolve the plans it submitted to the Airports Commission. This engagement has identified options to deliver an expanded hub airport for £2.5bn less than previous plans.
The consultation launched today will be an opportunity for the public to view Heathrow’s emerging proposals and options in detail and provide feedback on them. It will be composed of two parts – the first relates to the physical changes to the ground needed to build a new north-west runway and operate an expanded airport.
Responses can be submitted until the 28th March at any of the 40 consultation events held across communities surrounding the airport and also online, via email or post. Views heard in Heathrow’s consultation will help to shape and refine the airport’s proposals, which will then be subject to a second public consultation next year. Parliament is expected to vote on a National Policy Statement in the first half of this year, which will set out the policy framework for Heathrow’s final planning submission.