Interim Davis Commission Report Explained

HACAN has been busy since 11th November trying to make the latest Airports Commission’s findings easier to understand for everybody, not just the airport bosses.

Sir Howard Davies, author of the Airports Commission Interim Report

Sir Howard Davies, author of the Airports Commission Interim Report



Here are the key points for Heathrow:


Two options

The commission is considering two options. The first, presented by Heathrow Airport Limited, is a runway to the north of the existing runways, destroying all of Longford, most of Harmondsworth and making Sipson unliveable. The second is by Heathrow Hub, an extension to the existing north runway, a scheme untested in the rest of the world. This would also destroy Longford.


Could they be built by 2030? 

In short Yes, but this will be a lot harder to achieve at Heathrow due to the “work that would be involved”. Destroying a community and demolishing homes takes a long time especially when the residents don’t want to leave.


How would each option benefit the economy?

These are the claims:

Heathrow Third Runway: £112bn – £211bn

Heathrow Hub: £101bn – £214bn

Gatwick: £42bn – £127bn

In short, no one knows exactly but a new runway at Gatwick may produce a bigger boost to the economy than an expanded Heathrow.


New Jobs

The estimates vary wildly from 47,000 to 112,000. No one can say how many there will be, how well paid they will be, who will fill them and how long these jobs will last.  (SHE says: Airports are always looking at ways to increase profits by cutting staff costs, particularly with new technology such as online check-in, new baggage handling systems etc.  Many job estimates also include the short-term jobs only needed during construction.)


How much will it cost?

The Commission says Heathrow Airport Limited’s estimates are at least £4 billion out at £18.6 billion and Heathrow Hub are over £3 billion out at £13.5 billion. That’s quite a miscalculation. This should all be paid for by the airports so it would increase the price of fares.  The taxpayer would have to foot the bill for “the accepted works” such as roads.  (SHE says: Increased traffic will mean higher maintenance costs on local roads, which must be paid for by the taxpayer.  Schools and other public buildings that need to be demolished will need to be replaced – at the taxpayers’ expense.)


“The Commission puts the cost of the associated works to the public purse at £6.3bn for Heathrow Hub; £5.7bn for Heathrow; and £787,000 for Gatwick. The Heathrow options are high because both would involve extensive work to the surrounding motorway network, including tunnelling part of the M25.”


More homes will be demolished 

The Commission says a minimum of 783 homes would be destroyed with Heathrow Airport’s plan and 242 would be destroyed with Heathrow Hub’s. These figures are both higher than the proposer’s estimates.  In reality the figures would be far higher than even the Commission suggests as the pollution and noise levels would make other homes in the surrounding area unliveable and these would therefore have to be destroyed too.


(SHE says:  Heathrow’s own air quality predictions show that those homes left in Harmondsworth and Sipson would be suffering pollution at unacceptable levels – according to EU legislation.  Proposals always underestimate the number of homes lost because it makes their plans look cheaper and more acceptable to politicians.  The reality is that thousands of people will lose their homes and there is absolutely no plan to build properties to house them.  Many people, such as long-term tenants, are likely to find themselves without anywhere affordable to live and without compensation or support.  If they have jobs, even airport jobs, it could prove difficult to find accommodation within commuting distance on their incomes. The future is bleak for many residents.)


What would be the impact on noise?

Either option at Heathrow would mean that close to a million people would be affected by aircraft noise by 2050 whereas the number of people currently affected by Heathrow (766,100) should reduce if no additional runway is built.  Heathrow and its propaganda arm, Back Heathrow, make the outrageous claim that a bigger Heathrow would be a quieter.  This is just nonsense.


For the full HACAN briefing:




Stop Heathrow Expansion