Heathrow reveals expansion plans – but could be scuppered at hands of Boris Johnson

Simon Calder

Heathrow has revealed detailed plans for a third runway – on the day when the highest profile opponent of expansion moves closer to power.

Europe’s biggest airport has outlined its growth trajectory, as well as new measures to reduce emissions.

It is beginning a statutory 12-week consultation on the expansion proposals. The results will inform the airport’s “Development Consent Order“ application – planning permission – which is expected to be submitted next year.

The masterplan includes a controversial proposal to bring in an 25,000 extra flights a year in advance of a third runway opening.

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, said: “Expansion must not come at any cost. 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.”

A year ago, MPs voted to approve the Airports National Policy Statement by 415 to 119.

Legal challenges to Heathrow's expansion were rejected by the High Court earlier this year.

But Boris Johnson, whose Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency is close to Heathrow, pledged in 2015 to prevent the third runway going ahead.

He said: “I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that third runway.”

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes a third runway, said: “What hits you is the scale of these proposals.

“The impact on local people could be severe for many years to come. Disruption from construction; the demolition of homes; the reality of more than 700 extra planes a day.”

Responses to the consultation are open until 13 September 2019.