Heathrow won’t stop at third runway
Published: Friday 28th September 12
The 2M Group of local authorities has warned that allowing Heathrow Airport to build a third runway would inevitably lead to demands for a fourth.
The all-party campaign alliance, which includes more than 20 councils, explains that the 'hub' airport model needs high volumes of short-haul 'feeder flights' to attract enough passengers to fill its long haul services.
As the hub adds more long haul routes to its schedule it needs to accommodate even more feeder flights to fill the extra seats.
Both types of flights have to arrive within the same time window so passengers can make swift connections.
This pattern leads to high peaks of demand throughout the day. During these busy periods the airport is under pressure to land very high volumes of planes - leading to demands for additional runway and terminal space.
2M warns that these pressures give hub airports an insatiable appetite for expansion and that BAA's current bid to reopen the third runway debate would be followed by demands for further additional capacity including the possibility of a fourth runway.
Speaking on behalf of the campaign group, leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said:
"History shows that the airport has an unquenchable thirst for expansion. A successful hub will always want to grow - but you simply cannot keep adding new runways in this part of the country. It blights the lives of too many people.
"Expanding Heathrow would be the wrong decision on every level. There are better options for improving the UK 's connectivity and we must now unpick the airport owner's case which is inevitably based on its own commercial self interest."
Leader of Richmond Council and 2M spokesman Lord True said:
"Heathrow's location was a colossal mistake and we cannot allow that error to be compounded again and again. If a third runway is built the campaign for a forth would swiftly follow. The People of west London have had enough and they will not accept the betrayal of the 2010 promise to stop expansion."
Leader of Hillingdon Council and 2M spokesman Ray Puddifoot said:
"There are better ways of meeting the nation's aviation needs than cramming more flights into this disastrously placed airport. A good place to start would be ensuring Heathrow makes best use of its existing capacity - much of which is used for repeated flights to the same destinations which do not increase London 's connectivity and could easily be switched to other airports."
Leader of Hounslow Council and 2M spokesman Jagdish Sharma, said:
"Heathrow is a vital part of our local economy but it needs to be better, not bigger. As community leaders we need to debunk the myths around the absolute need for more runway capacity. In essence it is simple - BAA and the airlines need to make better use of what they have. If the airport grows, the burden for our communities of noise and pollution and pressure on the local road network becomes worse and it is already intolerable."
Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and 2M spokesman Cllr Nick Botterill said:
"The decision to locate the UK 's main airport at Heathrow was taken over 65 years ago at the end of the Second World War and it is simply now in the wrong place.
"A pint sized extra runway at Heathrow would do little to improve Britain 's economic prospects but would allow a big increase in aircraft noise by introducing more flight-paths over our heads."
The 2M Group is also opposed to any move to bring in more flights by allowing aircraft to use both Heathrow runways in parallel for landings - known as 'mixed mode' operations. Currently arriving aircraft switch runways at 3pm each day which provides vital respite for flightpath communities.
The 2M group is an all-party alliance of more than 20 local authorities concerned at the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities.
In 2010 the Group led a successful High Court challenge against the previous Government's plan to add a third runway.
The group, which took its name from the 2 million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of 5 million people.
Find out more at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/aviation