Government consultation


Closed 19 December 2017


Revised Draft Airports NPS:

Here we go again! The consultation on the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) has re-opened to include updated information – so you have another chance to tell the government what we have known for years - a third runway is undeliverable!

The revised draft Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) looks at the specific requirements that Heathrow will need to meet to get development consent for a new north-west runway, the government's preferred option to increase airport capacity in the south-east of England. It updates information from the original draft NPS that was published in February 2017. Two other options shortlisted in the final Airports Commission Report, a second runway at Gatwick and an extended northern runway at Heathrow, are compared with the proposed third runway development put forward by Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL). 

A decision has not yet been made. Responses to the latest consultation must be in by 19th December. These will then be considered and scrutinised early in 2018. If the Secretary of State decides to proceed, he will put a final Airports NPS before Parliament. If MPs vote to approve the NPS, he will designate the final Airports NPS. 


Reasons to oppose Heathrow expansion include:

  • 3,750 homes will have to be demolished or rendered unliveable.
  • A 3rd runway will increase the number of people severely impacted by noise from 725,000 to over 1.1million.
  • London is already in breach of legal air quality limits and a 3rd runway will result in a significant increase in air pollution.
  • Cost to the taxpayer remains unknown but will run into billions.
  • Growth at other airports would need to be curbed to ensure compliance with climate change targets.


Air quality

Cutting air pollution must be a top priority for the Government.  It is outrageous that people who are already living in an area with high pollution levels should be threatened with a third runway, up to 260,000 extra flights a year and the associated increase in road traffic including large freight vehicles.  The Government announced in its Air Quality Plan that it will ban petrol and diesel vehicles in 2040, but this is 10 years after a third runway could be operational.

Of particular concern are particulates, the smallest of which can enter the blood stream and cause long-term, irreversible damage to health.

While around 800 homes would be destroyed for the runway development to be built, those people living outside the boundary would have to live with the pollution generated by the construction phase.  Who will decide what level of disruption to residents is “acceptable”? (Page 81) Health impacts have not been fully accessed.


Community Compensation

Sufficient funds must be guaranteed to ensure Heathrow can meet its “public commitment” to the people affected by its expansion. (Main document pages 82 and 83.) We know that Heathrow has broken its pledges in the past.


Lack of economic benefit

For the first time, the DfT figures have shown negative economic benefit. One of the consultation documents, “Updated appraisal report airport capacity in the south east” (Table 9.2, page 44) gives the Net Present Value (NPV).

When considering a large project, financial experts will calculate the Net Present Value (NPV) to see if it will be value for money in the long run. They look at all the costs and benefits, including such things as impact on the environment and surface access costs, over many years.


The NPV for the three shortlisted options are:

  • Gatwick £1.0 to £2.4 billion (bn)
  • Heathrow extended northern runway -£1.8 to £2.7 bn
  • Heathrow northwest runway (HNW) -£2.2 to £3.3 bn


So the DfT figures now show that the preferred option could an economic disaster.  Even the upper NPV of £3.3 bn is negligible.  It may sound a lot, but it is a benefit over 60 years.  When compared with our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nearly £2 trillion per annum, it is infinitesimal.

It should be noted that Heathrow has been is claiming ‘wider economic benefits’ of £211 or £147 bn from a third runway and is using these to claim large economic benefits for the English regions.  These figures were not accepted by the Airports Commission or the DfT.  The DfT’s latest figure for ‘wider economic impacts’ is £1.8 to £3.2 bn (Table 9.2).  These figures cannot justify this hugely destructive development.


Carbon Emissions

The Government says a third runway should not override its objective to ensure the aviation sector makes a significant and cost-effective contribution towards reducing global emissions, while minimising the risk of putting UK businesses at a competitive international disadvantage. If aviation emissions are not cut, it is inevitable that other industries will have to be constrained. 

Analysis by TfL shows that a third runway would result in increased delays at junctions and average speeds becoming slower on the local road network. This would inevitably result in an increase in emissions too.


Consultation Documents

Revised Draft Airports NPS


Appraisal of Sustainability


How to have your say – online


Comments to Sir Jeremy Sullivan about the consultation process


Consultation responses must arrive by 11.45pm on 19 December 2017.





THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT CONSULTATION LEAFLET, paid for by British taxpayers, contains one-sided information promoting a foreign-owned airport, Heathrow. It was sent to 1.5 million homes but didn’t tell people how they would be affected and there was no space for details of the consultation venues.  Some of the most impacted people eventually discovered that they had no venue within easy reach. 


The Consultation leaflet makes people search out information that it could have placed on this leaflet put through 1.5 million letterboxes

The Consultation leaflet makes people search out information that it could have placed on this leaflet put through 1.5 million letterboxes


JOBS - The leaflet boasts “tens of thousands of additional local jobs by 2030”.   This does not mean people currently living near Heathrow will get any of the new jobs. The inhabitants of Longford and most of Harmondsworth will have been pushed out of their homes. The occupants of thousands more homes will decide that they cannot live with the increased noise and pollution. Heathrow has admitted that as many as 3,750 homes make need to be bought by the airport. Road schemes are likely to mean the loss of yet more housing. Some vacated homes could have "insulation and ventilation" added so that they can be used for people coming into the area to seek work having been lured by talk of "local" airport job.  Current local people may find that even after competing for low-pay airport work they cannot afford family accommodation, to buy or rent, and are compelled to move elsewhere. Who will provide all the jobs?  Few will be at the airport itself. Heathrow is looking to cut jobs and has cut the pay packages of its staff. NO EXTRA JOBS exist as a result of Terminal 5 being built. Further automation is inevitable as foreign investors push for bigger profits and cut the wage bill. Most off-airport jobs will be in hotels, catering, cleaning, driving, parking and vehicle related business. 


OUR CHILDREN DESERVE BETTER CAREER PROSPECTS Even pro-runway union Unite says that says British Airways cabin crew get “POVERTY” RATES. Staff are so fed up they plan to take strike action this month. Baggage Handlers (also Unite members) threatened strike action over Christmas. Airport-related jobs are too often low paid, low aspiration jobs. 


The Department of Transport leaflet promoting Heathrow, even though it claims that people can give their views on other alternatives

The Department of Transport leaflet promoting Heathrow, even though it claims that people can give their views on other alternatives


LIES ABOUT ECONOMIC BENEFITS “Expected economic benefits to PASSENGERS and the wider economy worth up to £61 billion”.  Firstly, that supposed benefit is over 60 YEARS! Secondly, in Nov 2016 the Evening Standard revealed that a DfT report had shown that when benefits to overseas travellers and firms were excluded, British people and firms would be better off if a different option was chosen for expansion. (Gatwick). This information was not given to the full Cabinet when they discussed airport expansion. So even politicians aren't given the full picture or the true facts. 


BRIBERY – The six new domestic routes that Heathrow “proposes” may never be viable. They are promoted to persuade other parts of the UK to support Heathrow expansion, as MPs from all over the country will get a vote on the issue in Parliament. Heathrow has spent a fortune charming business groups around the country, and especially in Scotland, to gather support.  


POLLUTION AND ROADS The leaflet ignores these. Toxic air pollution generated by airport operations and associated business is permanently damaging health. The leaflet brags about the expensive freight it handles, “more than all other UK airports combined” but this also means it causes more pollution.  Increasing freight will put more huge lorries on our roads. Yet it refuses to pay for road infrastructure or the ongoing maintenance by saying that traffic around the airport is not related to their business. This way, Heathrow can pass the cost on to the British taxpayer. 


HEALTH DAMAGE No amount of “insulating” or “ventilating” buildings will compensate for the impact of noise and pollution. We go outdoors. Children subjected to high levels of pollution have stunted lungs that will never recover. 


DESTRUCTION OF HOMES AND GREEN SPACES Heathrow admits 3,750 homes could be considered unlovable.  When people are forced out of the area, this will increase pressure to build more houses on green spaces, for them and the workers that will come into the region expecting to find work.