Heathrow looking to seal the deal
N Reduction of night flights n No fourth runway n Levy on drivers similar to congestion charge
HEATHROW Airport has promised to reduce night flights in an attempt to boost its case for a third runway.
The airport announced the measure on Wednesday last week as part of a package designed to reduce the impact of expansion on local communities and the environment.
The plans include increasing the limits on night flights, from the present 11.30pm finish and 4.30am start, to 11.30pm and a 5.30am.
The hub airport also agreed to accept any government decision to rule out building a fourth runway in the future.
The pledge to meet and exceed the conditions set out by the Airports Commission’s report comes ahead of a government decision expected this summer on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick.
Last year, Sir Howard Davies’ commission unanimously recommended expanding Heathrow, but only if it met all of its strict environmental conditions.
Writing to David Cameron, the airport’s CEO John Holland-Kaye, said: “Today, I am proud to submit a comprehensive plan that meets and exceeds your demands.
“This is a big commitment from us, but it is the right choice for the country, local communities and jobs across Britain.
“We have acted now to let you and your government make the right choice, in the long term interest of our country. It will enable you to choose Heathrow and secure a stronger economy and Britain’s place in the world.
“Expanding Heathrow can help Britain win thousands more jobs and ensure that future generations have the same economic opportunity that we have enjoyed.”
Other pledges involve creating an ultra-low emissions zone for airport vehicles by 2025 where vehicles accessing the airport will be charged to tackle air quality.
Mr Holland-Kaye said motorists will be charged a fee if they do not meet the standards to ‘encourage low emission technology and fund sustainable transport’.
Pick-up and drop-off vehicles will pay a figure ‘similar to congestion charges’ in the plan. The fees will only apply to those driving within the confines of Heathrow.
Mr Holland-Kaye said of the money raised, around £50 million will go towards ‘national rail projects’.
“We don’t want to target local communities,” he said.
“We don’t have a full, ready to go scheme yet. It needs work as it’s still early days. It gives people an incentive to drive lower emission vehicles. We didn’t need to do this, but we’re taking the lead, going beyond what the Airports Commission have recommended.”
The announcement comes alongside the airport selecting four of Britain’s best aviation architects to bring to life Heathrow’s vision for expansion.
Shortlisted architects, which includes Grimshaw, work from the late Zaha Hadid, HOK and Benoy, were challenged to redefine what an airport should be with bold sustainable ideas and innovative technologies.
Images revealed how each architect chose to portray the expanded airport, ahead of the next phase of the tender process, which will further test their creativity before a final concept designer is selected in July.
Architects’ visions of what an expanded Heathrow could look like. Main image HOK. Below: Grimshaw and inset, Zaha Hadid.