Third runway needs bet­ter roads and rail

In­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments to meet de­mand

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cumber robert.cumber@trin­i­tymir­

A THIRD Heathrow runway could lead to un­prece­dented con­ges­tion on Lon­don’s road, rail and tube net­works, trans­port bosses have warned.

Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL) this week es­ti­mated it would cost be­tween £15bn and £20bn to im­prove trans­port con­nec­tions suf­fi­ciently to cope with the surge in pas­sen­gers ex­pan­sion would bring.

It claimed the Air­ports Com­mis­sion, which has rec­om­mended ex­pan­sion of the air­port, had only as­sessed the im­pact on sur­round­ing roads and pub­lic trans­port up to 2030 – by which time the ex­tra runway is not ex­pected to be op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity.

Richard De Cani, TfL’s di­rec­tor of strat­egy and pol­icy, ad­dressed the Lon­don As­sem­bly’s trans­port com­mit­tee on Tues­day, Novem­ber 10.

He said: “The sim­ple word would be con­ges­tion – con­ges­tion on the road net­work, con­ges­tion on the rail net­work of a scale that we haven’t seen,” he said.

“The level of crowd­ing you would have on those rail cor­ri­dors into cen­tral Lon­don would be some of the worst that we cur­rently see in Lon­don and that’s based on 2030 de­mand, the year of open­ing.

“So it’s a level of crowd­ing and con­ges­tion that we be­lieve would start to im­pact quite sig­nif­i­cantly on the whole per­for­mance of the trans­port net­work across west and south west Lon­don.”

Heathrow says a third runway would en­able it to in­crease an­nual flights from the cur­rent cap of 480,000 to 740,000.

The Air­ports Com­mis­sion forecast that with a third runway the num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing Heathrow each year would rise from 73 mil­lion at present to 125 mil­lion by 2030.

It es­ti­mated this would lead to around 110,000 ex­tra trips on pub­lic trans­port per day and 41,000 more by car.

How­ever, when the third runway is fully utilised, TfL predicts those fig­ures will in­crease by a fur­ther 37,000 and 32,000 re­spec­tively.

A Heathrow spokes­woman said ex­pan­sion would come with a “step-change” in rail ac­cess to the air­port, and by in­creas­ing the num­ber of pas­sen­gers tak­ing pub­lic trans­port it would en­sure there was no more air­port-re­lated traf­fic than to­day.

She said all but one of the ma­jor im­prove­ments to rail con­nec­tions al­ready had pub­lic fund­ing com­mit­ted, with only the pro­posed Southern Rail con­nec­tion re­quir­ing ad­di­tional fi­nance.

“We are con­fi­dent in our plans be­cause we al­ready have an out­stand­ing record in in­creas­ing the use of pub­lic trans­port to get to the air­port and en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to shift out of their cars,” she added.

“Over the last 20 years, our pas­sen­ger num­bers have risen by al­most 80 per cent but air­port re­lated traf­fic has re­mained static.”

Lon­don As­sem­bly mem­ber Va­lerie Shawcross, who chairs the As­sem­bly’s trans­port com­mit­tee, said: “Be­fore the Gov­ern­ment makes its de­ci­sion on air­port ex­pan­sion, there are big ques­tions to be an­swered around what trans­port in­fra­struc­ture is needed and who will pay for it.

“We can’t al­low a big­ger Heathrow to clog up Lon­don’s roads and pub­lic trans­port net­work.”

n EX­PAN­SION PLAN: The pro­posed third runway for Heathrow would lead to ex­tra con­ges­tion on the roads and rails ac­c­coridng to TfL’s Richard De Cani

n CON­CERN: Richard De Cani from Trans­port For Lon­don says a third runway at Heathrow would cre­ate vast con­ges­tion

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