Eleven Reasons to oppose Heathrow Expansion


11 Reasons to Stop Heathrow Expansion


The 3rd runway would be:-

1. Politically undeliverable
2. Heathrow is NOT at full capacity!
3. Businesses are against the 3rd Runway
4. There is no "Safety Zone" round the proposed 3rd Runway!
5. It would require communities and 783 homes to be demolished
6. Detrimental to Health (Air Quality and Noise)
7. It would damage the climate irreparably
8. Horrific Transport Congestion
9. Heathrow links to the regions would fall from 7 to just 4 uk airports
10. Case against the Hub airport: its an ancient, obsolete idea
11. Heathrow is poorly used: the 3rd runway will just be a tax subsidised foreign owned monopoly.

There are alternatives: Increase competition and links between London's 3 airports. Create green jobs.



1. Heathrow is not operating at 98% capacity!

  • Heathrow is no where near full. Heathrow has 2 runways - one for landing, one for take-offs. People have been brainwashed by Heathrows marketing machine into believing Heathrow is full - just because heathrow quotes an hour or two on a busy Friday evening where a few flights leave 40 seconds apart! Check the boards for yourself. Here is a peak 6am to 7am example - just 22 flights leaving heathrow, that is NOT one flight every 40seconds! 
  • And quoting Heathrow - each flight on the average is just 66% full. So every 3 flights to New York, one flight is empty!
  • Business flights are dropping rapidly, people use alternatives like Skype & conference calling.
  • Heathrow does not need a new runway. Not now. Not in the future. www.aef.org.uk/uploads/Runway-Myth.pdf



2. Aircraft noise produces dumb kids.


  • If you can hear a plane flying overhead and have a kid - the noise will affect that child's concentration. Drill down and read the2006 UK Reach (Road traffic and Aircraft Noise and children's Cognition & Health) report.
  • Heathrow Blight will affect the re-sale value of properties surrounding the 3rd Runway in Colnbrook, Brands Hill, Langley, Iver, West Drayton, Sipson & Harlington - because no kids are allowed to live withing the 70 decibel limit of the runway - and these villages will deteriorate to minimum-wage-workers/asylum-seekers rooms - just like the current blighted Longford Village.

Current noise problem should have been solved decades ago and is not dependant on any 3rd runway! Invest and solve the problems now. 


3. 9 people will die in London today.

Heathrow exceeds EU air pollution levels

9 people will die today in London from Nitrogen Dioxide air poisoning. Just because they breathe deadly polluted air, 3000 people die every year in London from heart and lung conditions. Heathrow pollutes. Heathrow exceeds EU maximum allowable Nitrogen Dioxide limits by over three times. 



4. 12,000 people will lose their jobs.

190 businesses are within the 3rd runway footprint, including:-

  • Europes largest detention center in Harmondsworth
  • Colnbrooks gigantic recycling plant
  • British Airways headquarters at Waterside
  • 3 massive hotels - Thistel Inn, Sheraton & Premier Inn
  • as well a DHL Aircraft food preperation center in Colnbrook
  • Harmondsworth Junior School, etc.

Approxiamtely 3000 people are currently employed in businesses in Longford, Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, and we all know, when businesses re-locate, they very seldom take their minimun-wage workers with them resulting in mass layoff's.


Using Heathrows statistics, 3000 actual current jobs probably equates to 6000 actual current Greater London support jobs, and 12,000 actual current UK supporting jobs that will be lost should the 3rd Runway go ahead. And if we use heathrows way of calculating and showing statistics - we will have lost 36,000 jobs (and in very small invisible print heathrow add "by 2060"!).


5. The 3rd Runway is politically undeliverable. Our leaders oppose it.

There is now an organised cross-party Coalition Against Heathrow Expansion:

  • Wandsworth Council
  • Hillingdon Council
  • Richmond Council
  • Kingston Council
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Council
  • Richmond Heathrow Campaign
  • Teddington Action Group
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Stop Heathrow Expansion
  • Ealing Aircraft Noise Action Group
  • Communities Against Increased Aircraft Noise


5. 15% of Brits make up 70% of the flights

Over half the UK population dont fly at all each year.
70% flights are made by 15% of the population - the wealthiest (ABC1s social class) - usually to their 2nd/3rd homes in tax free havens. To them, flights are completely tax free. The rich pay less than 20p/liter of jet fuel. You and I who travel by car on hoilday, pay �1 /liter fuel. The 3rd runway is just for that rich 15% of the population who live mainly in London's green suburbs and Kensington/Chelsea/Surrey.


5. Businesses are against the 3rd Runway

  • Neil Kevern's local business - Kevern Builders and Decorators - Harmondsworth
  • Nickies Hairdressing - Simson
  • 5 Bells Pub and Resturant - Harmondsworth
  • Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) which owns British Airways opposes the 3rd Runway. He says "A third Heathrow runway is 'an outrageous vanity project' by Heathrows management.
  • Taking a return trip from Edinburgh to Ibiza, each passenger will pay an extra �150 to pay for the 3rd Runway's Carbon tax
  • economic case for expansion is also unravelling. TfL believes Heathrow have underestimated the cost of dealing with these extra journeys to the airport by a staggering �15bn.
    The �147 billion that the Davies Commission said the 3rd Runway would bring to the national economy over 60years is likely to be way too high (HACAN report), & if Carbon Trading is in place it would fall to �67 billion However, if building, noise and emission disbenefits are included it would fall to benefit the nation by just �11 billion by 2060! (AirportWatch report). And if you read the AEF study, the Davies Commission and Heathrow used the wrong, half-complete, unproven model, and instead of generating money, Heathrow will cost the nation a whopping �9 billion!



5. There is no "Safety Zone" round the proposed 3rd Runway!

British Airways 2008 crash at Heathrow

  • There are hundreds of houses and a large junior school within meters of the end of the runway! There is no place for an emergency landing if there is a bird strike, engine failure, bad weather or pilot error.
  • In the past five years, there have been 260 emergency or urgent landings at Heathrow, roughly one per week, as a result of problems such as engine failure, fuel shortages.
  • Every jet arriving and departing from the proposed runway will have to clear the chimney pots of the houses at the end of the runway in Sipson village.
  • As a plane picks up speed, it gets to a point where it is going too fast to safely stop before reaching the end of the runway - so it has to commit to taking off. If anything were to happen to the plane (bad weather, bird-strike, engine failure or pilot error) between then, and reaching a height to enable the plane to circle and glide back to the runway... well, the plane would have to undergo an emergency landing. There is no "Hudson River" at Heathrow. You are putting a 3rd runway in the densely populated city of London. The 3rd runway points to the city center. Its a disaster waiting to happen. There are good reasons why airports are build out in the countryside, where there are farms, lakes, swamps - away from the population.
  • Planes slide off runways and over-shoot - just google the amount of large planes that have crashed on runways this year - its frightening. See Halifax airport (29th March 2015), Hiroshima airport (14th April 2015), Taipei crash (on 4th February 2015 killed 35).
  • Seven years ago in Jan 2008 flight BA38 from China missed the end of Heathrows South runway and crash landed at Heathrow. Everyone survived, but if that same accident were to happen at the end of the proposed 3rd Runway, that plane would have landed in Heathrow Primary School!
  • Accidents happen - last week on Saturday 22nd August 2015 a Hawker Hunter Jet crashed killing 11 people down the road at Shoreham airfield. And a few weeks before that, on the 31st July 2015, 4 people were killed at Blackbushe airport in Hampshire - also just a few miles down the road from Heathrow - where a private plane overshot the runway and crashed into a auction car park.
  • Brand new planes will always fly into Heathrow; by 2030 there will be "Drones" - pilotless planes flying passengers into Heathrow - all disasters waiting to happen.

You cannot scoop out 3 ancient villages from the middle of a densely populated city like London, and build a new airport (Terminal 6) and runway (3rd Runway) - with the runway pointing at the city center and houses lining the end of the runway! There is no "Safety Zone" round this mad proposal.

6. Heathrow Airport's proposal would require 783 homes to be demolished.

1. It would destroy 3 ancient Villages, their communities, a large school, at least 783 homes and atleast 180 businesses including three gigantic hotels, British Airways Waterside Headquarters, the largest detention center in Europe, a massive new recycling/waste incinerator and over 250 buisnesses. Longford Village will be totally wiped off the face of the earth, and little would be left of Harmondsworth. Sipson homes would be within centimetres of the airport perimeter. One street of more than 60 houses is surrounded on three sides by the airport perimeter fence! SHE believes that homes in other local areas will be unliveable.

There are no plans to rehouse any of the people displaced by airport expansion - let alone guarantee jobs for the approxiamte 3000 people currently employed in businesses in Longford, Harmondsworth and Colnbrook.

Heathrow are going to make money out of our misery. Heathrow are going to make a massive fortune from destroying our communities. Demolishing our houses will unearth a pure Gold mine in Landing-Fees for Heathrow and their foreign owners. They will still pay minimum wages to their employees.

7. Health

a. Air Quality

Areas around Heathrow are already over the EU limits on air pollution. The Airports Commission says that, even with cleaner planes, Heathrow would find it "challenging" to meet the limits if a third runway is built. That seems to be a massive understatement. The Commission's own analysis found that, by 2030, with a third runway, Heathrow's Bath Road would have the worst NO2 concentrations of any location in Greater London. A lot of the air pollution in the Heathrow area comes not from the planes but from the car traffic. Even Heathrow has admitted that drastic measures - such as a congestion charging scheme or a banning of diesel vehicles on the surrounding motorways - might be required if the legal limits are to be met. Yet the Airports Commission have not modelled such measures - and so have no way of showing if they'll be effective. The Supreme Court has also ordered the UK Government to prepare and consult on new air quality plans for submission to the European Commission no later than December 31 2015. This is due to the huge air pollution problems in the UK which means that legally, Heathrow may not be able to expand due to the increase in air pollution that more cars and planes would bring to London.

3. Air pollution would be a problem. Already levels in some places close to Heathrow are above the legal limits set by the European Union. Even with cleaner planes coming on-stream, there is no guarantee that the limits will come down by the time a third runway would expect to open in 2026 or so.

Air pollution:

  • A plane lands at Heathrow every 90 seconds
  • A 3rd runway would bring in around 260,000 extra flights a year
  • Air Pollution levels in parts of West London already exceeds the European legal limits
  • A 3rd runway would make Heathrow the biggest single emitter of CO2 - the climate change gas - in the UK
  • Desiel emits 10 times more deadly nitrogen Dioxide than gasoline. see www.transportenvironment.org

b. Noise

2. It would create an appalling noise climate for many people.


Heathrow Airport, by a colossal margin, is the largest noise polluter in Europe.  It currently affects over 720,000 people from noise at levels that cause significant annoyance.

Up to 1,000,000 people could be affected if Heathrow is expanded.

A new runway means a new flight path. It would be just north of the existing flight path. Sipson, Harlington, Heston, Brentford, Bedford Park and Hammersmith would be in the front-line. As would Langley and Eton. Already 750,000 are impacted by aircraft noise from Heathrow. Astonishingly, that is 28% of all people affected right across Europe. Just think what could happen when the number of planes increases by 250,000 a year.


Heathrow would subject up to one million Londoners to noise levels well beyond WHO guidelines;

World Health Organisation (WHO) research has demonstrated the harmful effects of excessive noise, particularly on the vulnerable - children, the elderly, those with underlying cardiovascular and mental health conditions. The WHO's key guidance documents links noise pollution above 55 decibels Lden with, among other effects, aggressive behaviours; stress hormones, high blood pressure levels, reducing helping behaviours and hindering child development. Aircraft noise effects on cardiovascular health, sleep disturbance, annoyance, psychological well-being, and effects on children's cognition and learning,


  • A plane lands at Heathrow every 90 seconds
  • 725,000 people are exposed at 55 decibels Lden, that is, 28% of all people impacted by aircraft noise across Europe
  • A 3rd runway would bring in around 260,000 extra flights a year

8. It will damage the climate irrepairably.

the last barrel of fossil fuel on Earth will be burned in an aircraft because it is more difficult to convert aircraft to biofuels, In 2050, Britain is allowed to make 160 million tons of CO2. Planes taking off from Heathrow will account for 55% of that. The Government will close/ration other country wide airports, to give their carbon emmissions to heathrow. The Kyoto Agreement does not include aviation CO2 emmissions. The Climate Change Act [2008], and therefore the Government�s Committee on Climate Change, ensured there is no explicit target for a reduction in aviation emmissions. There is a target for the country's reduction in overall emissions by 2050 �If a 3rd runway was built, Heathrow Airport would become one of the biggest sources of CO2 - the climate change gas - in the country. Each jumbo jet can take off with 25 tons of fuel (one large room full), and every evening one jumbo takes off and burns that every 40 seconds.


If aviation growth continues unchecked, by 2037 the industry will be resopnsible for all of the carbon that the UK can safely emit. Failure to prevent climate change will see atleast one billion people suffer water shortages, 40% of species made extinct and sea level rises threatening London by the end of the century.

A 3rd runway - not just a local problem

A 3rd runway would decimate the villages but, on a wider level, it would do nothing for the planet. Aviation is the fastest growing contributor to CO2 which causes climate change. To have any chance of stopping serious climate change we must cut our CO2 big time. 

Carbon Dioxide in the air - burning all that cheap oil in the 1900's, we boosted carbon dioxide to 315 parts per million; today in 2015, carbon dioxide averages out at 385 parts per million; when we get to 400 parts per million we will irreversibly raise the global temperature above 2'c. Today in 2015 at the houses of Parliament in London its 419 parts per million! We have subterranean oil - but burning it all will be lethal. In 2035 electricity demand will double. eg every house in Dubai needs air-conditioning...

In 2009 the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised the Government that the total annual emissions from aviation in the UK (domestic and international) should be no higher in 2050 that they were in 2005. The level was 37.5 MtCO2 (million tonnes CO2) 

If a plane flew from London to Sydney - and used 25tons of fuel - would Britain claim all CO2 emitted? And for the return flight? Or should Britain just claim the CO2 produced from fuel loaded at Heathrow?

Aviation, because it is so dependent on fossil fuels, gets off more lightly than any other industry. A third runway would mean that aviation would struggle to meet even its more lenient target.

Heathrow say they will close down their power stations... and draw their power from further afield!
The governments Committee on Climate Change (CCC) chief executive David Kennedy has already warned that the cost of long haul flights would need to rise by up to �200 to curtail demand and stay within the UK's carbon emissions targets. 

Aircraft emit gasses high into the atmosphere, there are other non-CO2 impacts, such as cirrus formation. Science is still uncertain, but these effects could as much as double the overall climate impact of the CO2 alone.

9. Transport Congestion

and cause gridlock on our roads as we cope with an additional 25 million road journeys.

Transport for London have concluded that Heathrow have underestimated the cost of dealing with excess passengers using transport links to an expanded Heathrow by a staggering £15 billion. This raises questions about who would pay for the additional road and rail capacity. Using such a high level of public funds to subsidise a privately owned company will be problematic given all the other demands on Government

More planes = more passengers = more car traffic. Although public transport will improve when the likes of Crossrail opens, the motorways and local roads around Heathrow will continue to have big traffic problems. Heathrow are so worried about the situation that they are saying a congestion charging scheme may need to be brought in.

And we must remember car traffic will increase anyway across West London even without a new runway because of all the new developments that are likely to come on-stream such as the RAF Uxbridge site with 1300 new dwellings, the Southall gasworks site with 3700 new homes and, above all, the planned Park Royal City development with its 12,000 new homes.

- Heathrow say they they will slap on a massive congestion-charge to any car/truck driving near Heathrow, while turning the area (M25/M4/A4) into an Ultra-Low emission Zone - only hybrid or zero emission (battery driven) cars/trucks/busses allowed near Heathrow and the workers/passenger carparks (what minimum wage worker will be able to afford the �50,000 battery driven car!).

10. The Regions

The number of domestic airports linked to Heathrow would fall from 7 to just 4.

Looking at the Airports Commission's passenger forecasts, it appears that there would be no overall increase in the number of UK passengers, flights or destinations if Heathrow expands. Instead, the expansion would take business from other UK airports and in particular the regional airports. In short, the effect of Heathrow expansion would be to centralize existing activity, and give Heathrow near-monopoly advantage.

This raises serious doubts about there being any benefit to the UK economy brought about by Heathrow's expansion - not only because of the lack of any growth but also because of the significant negative impact on the regions.

9. Case against the Hub airport:

  • Growing numbers of experts believe a mega-hub at Heathrow is unnecessary and would inhibit competition and restrict choice.
  • In 2008 David Cameron said; 'The economic value of transfer passengers is hotly disputed - after all, they often spend only the price of a cup of coffee in the UK'.
  • In 2009, David Cameron said: 'There are now increasing grounds to believe that the economic case is flawed.'
  • David Cameron later promised that if he were to become prime minister there would be no new runway at Heathrow, 'no ifs, no buts'.
  • Former Chief Executive of British Airways Bob Ayling told the Sunday Times in 2008 that a third runway would be 'a costly mistake.. against Britain's economic interests'
  • Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport said: 'Other countries, such as Germany, have a 'multi-hub' airport model - they link their major airports with high-speed rail, and spread the economic activity. They do not stick to the old-fashioned model of just one major airport.'

Heathrow can never be that hub In order to remain a 'world city' and one of the centres of the global transport system, London needs a hub airport with multiple runways and capable of operating day and night. You cant expand Heathrow in a piecemeal fashion, such as the 'sticking plaster' Davies Commission proposal, or to relax the night time exclusion of flights or to allow any degradation of the environment which would come from such expansion. Let's not forget that when Terminal 4 was built, Heathrow assured the public that there would be no more expansion then along came Terminal 5 and once again we were told there would be no more expansion. In the same if a third runway is built, how long before there is demand for the fourth, fifth or sixth runways, despite the Davis Report ruling out a fourth runway. Also, how will a new runway overcome concerns over air and noise pollution that have been cited?

10. Heathrow is poorly used:

  • The Commission concedes that a 3rd Runway will provide no more than 12 additional long-haul destinations by 2050.
  • Heathrow has the terminal capacity to accommodate at least another 20 million passengers a year.
  • Of the top 10 destinations, by number of flights, only one, New York, is long haul. The rest are European or British destinations.
  • On average there are 38 daily flights to Amsterdam, 36 to Frankfurt, 35 to Paris, 35 to Edinburgh, 29 to Manchester.
  • Business trips are less than 20 per cent of the London passenger total. Airport expansion is for the 15% of wealthy frequent flyers who take 70% of our flights.

Extraordinarily, a 3rd runway would add just 12 international routes by 2050.

Heathrow today:

  • Heathrow has 990 departure flights each week to the world's key business centres. That is more than its two closest rivals, Charles de Gaulle (484) and Frankfurt (450), combined.
  • • More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. Paris, our nearest European competitor, is in 5th place.
  • London has 7 runways - more than all other European cities except Paris which has 8.

It is unable to provide the fourth, fifth and sixth runways that an optimistic Britain needs for the future.

At this rate - the world is going to run out if oil before todays generation reach old age.

11. It would exacerbate the risk of flooding.

A third runway would be built over 5 rivers and would also involve�concreting over Harmondsworth Moor which acts as a kind of giant sponge for rainwater.




There is a clear alternative to Heathrow expansion - maximising competition between the three main London airports - Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, not least by investing in surface transport links to and between them.

Paris has 70? flights a day - yet is connected by an under utilised fast rail service.

Won't Heathrow close down if it doesn't get a new runway?

The answer is as firm NO. Heathrow itself is quite clear on this. Heathrow will remain as a successful and busy two-runway airport. The only threat to Heathrow would come from a big new Estuary Airport, which the Davies Commission has already ruled out. There is no other threat to it.

The only group suggesting that Heathrow will close is Back Heathrow, which has been set up and funded by the airport. Press reports state that it has already received a six-figure sum for set up and running costs, including widespread mail shots, questionnaires and opinion polls. It looks as if Heathrow has set up the group to distance itself from various discredited tactics used in previous campaigns - such as making promises that can't be kept. Back Heathrow's assertion that the airport risks closure without expansion has led to many airport workers feeling they must support an increase in noise and pollution in order to keep their jobs.

Heathrow Airport, always a poor use of land (Heathrow: 63 jobs per hectare, Docklands: 2,250 jobs per hectare) 

Heathrow can expand - within its own footprint. It has the plans to build Terminal 6 at Hatton Cross - infact its aready demolished that old hangars in preperation to build terminal 6 there. Heathrow is just chancing its arm in asking for all the free land and 3rd runway - cause it isnt going to happen! 

Airports Commission's flawed terms of reference meant its recommendation of a destructive new runway was inevitable, say rural campaigners
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) condemned today's decision of the Airports Commission to recommend a third runway at Heathrow [1]. 
If it is ever built, the proposed Heathrow north western runway would:
�Destroy 694 hectares of Green Belt and 60 hectares of woodland;
�Wreck tranquillity in parks and gardens with impacts likely to spread into the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;
�Destroy up to 950 homes and require up to 70,800 new homes to be built by 2030, with many more being required afterwards � all in an area of acute housing pressure;
�Produce 54.6% of the UK's aviation carbon emissions in 2050.
Ralph Smyth, transport campaign manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), comments:
�The recommendation today for a third runway at Heathrow casts a dark shadow over a wide swathe of the south east. Besides the destruction of much of the ancient village of Harmondsworth to make way for the new runway, a much wider area is at threat. On top of the almost relentless din of jet engines, runaway development and traffic would shatter the remaining fragments of tranquil countryside in the south east, already one of the most densely overflown areas in the world. 

Heathrow expansion could lead to 17million extra vehicle journeys in the heathrow area. 

You can read the top 10 reasons to oppose a 3rd runway on the website of HACAN, our sister organisation: http://hacan.org.uk/10-reasons-to-oppose-a-3rd-runway/