London’s Heathrow Airport is about to enter the next stage of its third-runway expansion plan, with the opening of a statutory public consultation that will feed into a final planning application.

Heathrow has released dates of the consultation, which will run from June 18 to Sept. 13.

During that time, Heathrow will seek public feedback on its proposals in four key areas, including:

  • Airport layout (runway, terminals and road access);
  • How the three-runway airport will operate (including night flights and additional flights before the new runway opens); and
  • The impact of the expansion on the environment (e.g., air and noise pollution) and local communities (community compensation and noise insulation).

“The masterplan will also reveal the airport’s growth in phases—from runway opening in 2026, to the end masterplan in approximately 2050. This incremental growth in infrastructure will align more closely with forecast passenger growth and help airport charges remain close to 2016 levels—ultimately resulting in more affordable fares for passengers,” Heathrow said.

The airport will use technology to showcase its plans, including augmented-reality models and a virtual-reality sound booth to demonstrate the effect of noise insulation on properties overflown by aircraft. 

Heathrow held additional consultations at earlier stages of the project and that feedback has been wrapped into the current plans. “Having listened to feedback from previous consultations, Heathrow will be holding events in more locations than previously,” Heathrow said.

This next step follows the High Court’s dismissal of legal challenges against the third runway, although rival expansion scheme Heathrow Hub has already announced plans to appeal that ruling.

“Following the conclusion of this consultation and after feedback has been incorporated, Heathrow will submit a final proposal to the planning inspectorate in 2020, kickstarting its approvals process. The decision on whether to grant the development consent order (DCO) will be made by the secretary of state following a public examination period led by the planning inspectorate,” the airport concluded.

Victoria Moores