Heathrow publishes ‘masterplan’ for controversial third runway

A computer generated image released by Heathrow airport on June 18, 2019 shows what the airport will look like in 2050 following the completion of a third runway and new terminals. (Heathrow airport/AFP)
Updated 18 June 2019
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Heathrow publishes ‘masterplan’ for controversial third runway

  • London Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport
  • Construction is expected to start in 2022, with the runway built by approximately 2026

LONDON: London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, on Tuesday issued plans for its controversial third runway, including the rerouting of rivers and roads, as it sought also to allay environmental concerns.
Britain’s government last year finally approved the third runway after decades of acrimonious debate.
“Heathrow today unveils its preferred masterplan for expansion,” said a statement from the airport, which is owned by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial.
The detailed plan includes “tough new measures” to reduce emissions, limit noise and curb night-time flights.
The M25 motorway that rings London will be rerouted under the new runway, while river corridors will also be diverted.
“We’re working with those impacted residents, communities and local authorities to identify appropriate mitigation measures,” the plan said.
“New river corridors will be created to channel the existing rivers and wildlife away from construction sites and the new runway.”
Construction is expected to start in 2022, with the runway built by approximately 2026. New terminals will not be ready until around 2050.
The expansion is expected to cost about £30 billion ($38 billion, €34 billion), according to the BBC, including £14 billion on the first phase.
The hub, west of London, aims to increase its total capacity to 130 million passengers per day, compared with the current level of about 78 million.
“Expansion must not come at any cost,” said Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, presenting a new public consultation that will run until September.
“That is why we have been working with partners at the airport, in local communities and in government to ensure our plans show how we can grow sustainably and responsibly — with environmental considerations at the heart of expansion.
“This consultation is an opportunity for people to have their say on our preferred masterplan,” she added.
Heathrow will also issue compensation for affected homeowners, and establish a noise insulation policy and a community fund.
The third runway has faced stiff opposition for many years from campaigners who cited the negative impacts on noise and air pollution, habitat destruction, transport congestion, and climate change.
Last month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, along with environmental charities and local councils, lost a court battle to prevent the Heathrow expansion.
Britain’s Conservative government argues that the project will provide a major boost to Britain’s post-Brexit economy and could create up to 114,000 local jobs by 2030.
Heathrow is owned by an investment consortium comprising also sovereign wealth funds from nations including China, Singapore and Qatar.


British mortgage approvals near 2-year high in June: UK Finance

Updated 42 min 36 sec ago
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British mortgage approvals near 2-year high in June: UK Finance

  • Consumer demand has generally been robust since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016
  • The number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 42,653 in June
LONDON: The number of mortgages approved for British house purchases edged up to one of its highest levels in the past two years last month, though credit card lending grew at a slower pace, data from industry body UK Finance showed on Wednesday.
Consumer demand has generally been robust since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, but the housing market has slowed, especially in London and surrounding areas.
Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane said on Tuesday that there were signs the slowdown in the housing market had bottomed out.
The number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 42,653 in June, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, up from 42,407 in May and close to April’s two-year high of 42,792.
Net credit card lending slowed to £119 million ($148 million) in June from £247 million in May, the lowest since a contraction of £54 million in December 2018.