Scroll to: Noise Pollution Impact | Air Quality | IPA Impacted Areas | Worst Option Chosen | Heathrow Ownership | The Real Alternative | Economics of 3rd Runway | Automation | The Time is Right | Meeting Notes | Related Links | Summary of Heathrow Expansion Impact



Airport chief’s moans so much hot air

The Times – 29th October 2020

Please follow this link to the Times article (subscription required)

Simon Jenkins’ Article on Heathrow’s Expansion

The Guardian – June 2019

Please follow this link to read the article that Simon Jenkins wrote for The Guardian newspaper in June 2019.

The Sun Newspaper

Campaigners warns of “Thirty Years of Misery”

Please follow this link to an article which featured in The Sun newspaper and website dated 30th June 2019. The article discusses “30 years of disruption” along with an increase of 700 flights per day and what it describes as “an environmental disaster”

Noise Pollution Impact

Noise pollution isn’t just annoying- it affects your health and takes years off your life.

Please follow this link to an article from The Times newspaper (Available to subscribers only).

“Why living near an airport could be bad for your health” – The Independent – October 2013

Please follow this link to read the full article and follow this link for the full-size graphic.

World Health Organisation – Maximum Noise from Aeroplanes

Follow this link to read a document published by the WHO Development Group about Environmental Noise Guidelines.

Extract – WHO Aircraft Noise Recommendations:

For average noise exposure, the GDG strongly recommends reducing noise levels produced by aircraft below 45 dB Lden, as aircraft noise above this level is associated with adverse health effectsStrong
For night noise exposure, the GDG strongly recommends reducing noise levels produced by aircraft during night time below 40 dB Lnight, as night-time aircraft noise above this level is associated with adverse effects on sleep.Strong
To reduce health effects, the GDG strongly recommends that policy-makers implement suitable measures to reduce noise exposure from aircraft in the
population exposed to levels above the guideline values for average and night noise exposure. For specific interventions the GDG recommends implementing
suitable changes in infrastructure.

Air Quality

The government admits that if expansion proceeds there is a HIGH RISK of Heathrow not complying with legal air quality limits.There are currently no enforcement methods, should Heathrow not meet the legal requirements.

The Transport Select Committee recommended that Government adapts a more stringent interpretation of air quality compliance. This was ignored, and the Government has provided no evidence to show how Heathrow can both expand and comply with legal limits. The government appears content to leave it to Heathrow to demonstrate compliance.

An Interesting Article on Air Quaility from The Independent Newspaper

According to The Independent Newspaper in an article from 12th May 2016, dozens of British cities are breaching air quality safety limits. Please follow this link to read the story.

Aircraft Emissions

In general, aircraft engine produces various types of emissions, which include carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor (H20), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons (HC) , sulfur oxides (SOx), particulate matter (PM), and other trace compounds. About 70 percent of aircraft emissions are CO2: followed by H20 at slightly less than 30% while the rest of the pollutants represent less than 1 percent each CO2 and H20 form significant amount of Greenhouse Gas emissions that can trigger climate change while NOx, CO, HC, SOx and particulate matter are always associated with air quality and subsequently public health.

The amount of aircraft emissions released during the Landing and Take off (LTO) cycle is always of interest, The cycle refers to aircraft activities in the vicinity of the airport that take place up to the altitude of 915 meter (3000 feet) above ground level as defined by ICAO. The activities for arrival involve approach to runway, landing and taxi-in to terminal. Meanwhile for departure, the cycle begins with taxi-out to runway, hold on taxiway, take-off , initial climb and climb-out to 915 meter (3000 ft). It is perceived that pollutants emitted during this cycle can reach ground level within a few days and mixed with the existing pollutants to further deteriorate the quality of air.

Please note that in addition to monitoring the emission of landing and take offs (LTOs), there has recently been an increased focus on also identifying and monitoring the adverse impacts of emissions generated from cruising aircraft.

Independent Parallel Approach (IPA) Impacted Areas


The area of London which will be impacted by Heathrow’s proposed introduction of Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA) , which they also refer to as ‘Early Growth’ in flights.

If this is to go ahead there will be an additional 25,000 flights a year across London as early as next year or 2022, before the additional 256,000 additional flights when the 3rd runway is built, leading to a total of 281,000 additional flights over London a year.

  • IPA is a change to the way that aircraft arrive at Heathrow. It is known as Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA) and involves new arrival routes into Heathrow from the holding stacks. The planes on the IPA routes will join closer than 8 nautical miles so they will be lower than today as they join their final approach. The introduction of API will be combined with new flight paths (one proposed over our area). The IPA will therefore lead to more flights directly over us)
  • It is a form of intensive landing at Heathrow using both runways at the same time. It does not give respite when being used, unlike currently, where runway usage is alternated during the day.
  • By skewing the arrival path for one inward bound runway, it is possible to get the planes closer together and thereby push through more planes.

The small map above gives an idea of the affected areas. Please follow this link to view a much large map which allows you to zoom in and see which areas will be affected if Heathrow is allowed to introduce the proposed Early Growth/Independent Parallel Approaches.

Worst Option Chosen from the options presented to government for expansion in the South East:

The government was presented with three options and chose the option (Heathrow NWR) which will have the worst impact on noise, air pollution, house demolition and the environment of all three options. (See table below).

Worryingly, the chosen NWR option underestimates the real impact on Londoners, as it assumes concentrated flight paths. In fact Heathrow is proposing to introduce new flight paths impacting a much greater proportion of Londoners as part of its proposal for Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA). The Heathrow NWR figures in the table below will actually be higher.

Summary of the Environmental, Health and Community Impacts

Category (indicator)Heathrow NWRHeathrow ENRGatwick
Land capture (including surface access)905.9ha723.8ha702.2ha
Green Belt Land (including surface access)694.6ha521ha59.6ha
Housing Loss783 (plus up to 289 for surface access)242 (plus up to 165 for surface access)167 (plus up to 37 for surface access)
Noise (No of people newly affected by by noise at 54dB LAeq in 2030)92,70027,20016,200
Air Quality (Population exposed to NO2 concentrations)121,377100,38951,326
Carbon (additional tCO2 over 60 year appraisal period)308,860,409259,604,192121,512,938

Heathrow Ownership

Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd is 100% privately owned, with 10% UK ownership.

Owner% stakeCountry
FGP Topco Limited, a consortium owned and led by the infrastructurespecialist Ferrovial S.A.25.00%Spain
Qatar Investment Authority20.00%Qatar
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) 12.62%12.62%Canada
GIC 11.20%Singapore
Alinda Capital Partners of the United States 11.18%USA
China Investment Corporation 10.00%China
Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) UK10.00%UK

The real alternative – a ‘New Regional Hub’ Model in place of outdated ‘Old Hub’ model with Heathrow Expansion

There is a real and viable alternative to the outdated ‘traditional hub and spoke model’ which Heathrow’s expansion plans are based on. Introducing the ‘New Regional Hub’ model will enable the UK to benefit from a fairly distributed, well integrated and sustainable transport infrastructure that:

  • distributes cargo to suitable airports
  • avoids the draining of business from regional airports (estimated as a minimum loss of 170, 000 flights per annum)
  • supports nationwide economic growth
  • allows all airports rather than only Heathrow to prosper within the Climate Change CO2 target
  • avoids unnecessary extension of M25 and transport of cargo by road across the country

Please follow this link to view a larger version of the above graphic.

Passenger Growth:

The Heathrow North West Runway (NWR) scheme would enable passenger growth to rise by 63% between 2016 and 2050, compared with a 53% rise without expansion. This equates to a net UK increase of 6% or 26 million passengers per annum (mppa) by 2050 compared with no expansion. The passenger growth with no expansion is facilitated by growth in non-London airports and higher utilisation of existing London airports. Projections show that passenger growth would be broadly similar across all three expansion options by 2050.

Economics of Heathrow 3rd Runway

  • Heathrow’s business plan assumptions are unconvincing. Its volumes are based on its desire to: 1) double its cargo business (ludicrous to expand cargo in a capital city); 2) hugely increase the volumes of passengers that use London for connecting flights only (earning Heathrow Ltd landing and take-off fees and airport revenue but not generating any financial benefit to the UK); and 3) operate regional flight routes (neither commercially nor environmentally justifiable).
  • According to Transport for London, the cost of the surface access improvements required to accommodate Heathrow’s expansion could rise to £18.4bn (rather than the £3.9bn estimated by Heathrow). The tax payer will have to fund this, along with the NHS costs of treating the health ramifications of noise and air pollution, and government subsidies for commercially unviable regional flights.

View larger version of the above.

Automation and self-service trends in airports (incl. Heathrow)

Automation, Self-service, AI and productivity improvements means it’s highly unlikely that the 3rd runway will create the jobs estimated by Heathrow.

Airports around the world are already piloting and introducing automation and self-service across all aspect of their airport operations.

In the UK BA has already introduced biometric e-boarding gates at Heathrow Terminal 5, and Heathrow has announced its plan to invest £50m in increasing automation across the airport.

“The airport of the future will be built upon biometric technology, from check-in and baggage drops to security checks and boarding. These days, automation is a part of everyday life, as is biometric technology via our mobile phones”. Quote BA Senior digital design manager Raoul Cooper

Gatwick Airport is piloting robots carrying out valet parking.

A number of airports have piloted a robot and artificial intelligence, which has demonstrated how bags can be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.

Below are some examples of automation and self-service in airports in the UK and across the world:

  • interactive robots that can answer travel related questions and provide concierge services

  • robotic cleaning (used in Madrid Barajas Airport, Singapore Changi airport)

  • robots providing autonomous valet parking (piloted in Lyon Airport, Gatwick airport& Paris Charles de Gaulle)

  • multilingual robots escorting passengers to departure gates (Frankfurt airport, Korea, Delhi, Munich)

  • automated check-in (pilot Geneva Airport)

  • automated baggage drop (pilot in Geneva Airport)

  • automated baggage handling (Geneva Airport, Gatwick, Heathrow, Rotterdam Hague)

  • automated cargo handling (pilot in Heathrow)

  • automated immigration clearance ( Singapore Changi Airport)

  • automated security

  • automated laser-guided aerobridge positions itself to airplane to let passengers disembark

  • automated- driverless shuttles transporting passengers (Charles de Gaulles)

  • automated on demand gate-side delivery of food and beverage by robots

  • automated, self-checkout options for gate-side retail

  • automated self-driving wheel chairs ( Narita Airport)

  • e- check-in

  • e- passport gates

  • biometric e-boarding gates – e.g. BA has already introduced this at Heathrow Terminal ( also piloted/ introduced at other airports including Schiphol Airport)

Relevant Links:

Changi Airport Robots – Channel News Asia
Changi Airport Robots – Bloomberg
Gatwick Robot Valets
Sita’s “Leo” Baggage Robot

The time is right for Government to review the 3rd Runway decision

Heathrow’s £14billion plans for a third runway have been thrown into fresh doubt after the Transport Secretary questioned how it will be financed.
The new Transport Grant Shapps said ‘Parliament voted for Heathrow but there are questions about whether the whole plan stacks up. This is privately funded. They are going to need to make sure they bring in enough income. We will be taking a really, really close look. I certainly will.’ August 2019.

Meeting notes from Public Meeting 3 September 2019

Please follow this link to read the notes.

Related Links

No3rdRunway Coalition:

Stop Heathrow Polluting us

  • An additional 281,000 flights a year which amounts to 700+ flights a day
  • Increased jet noise, day and night – NO SLEEP
  • Increased AIR POLLUTION
  • Protect us and our children, the elderly, ill and the vulnerable
  • Say no to NEW flight paths DIRECTLY OVER US in London
  • Say no to destroying the quality of Life across London – for residents and people working or visiting

Say NO to Heathrow Expansion

If you think the expansion of Heathrow won’t turn your world upside down, then think again, because once it happens it is irreversible.

What does building a 3rd runway and introducing the proposed Independent Parallel Flight Paths (IPAs) mean?

  • Volumes of flights over London will increase from 475,000 to 756,000 flights a year = 700+ additional flights per day.
  • The introduction of new flight paths – which will run directly over a greatly increased number of local areas – implies significant additional noise from 5.00 am every morning. Heathrow Airports Ltd is particularly interested in increasing the volume of early morning flights.
  • The indicated noise level of 51-70 db significantly exceeds the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance on maximum levels of 45db day time and 40db night time. Levels above this can lead to increased blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, strokes and sleep deprivation and stress. How can this be allowed?
  • Our air quality will be seriously impacted by a massive increase of air pollution. This is in clear breach of governmental Co2 emission targets agreed upon in the Paris agreement. Air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, lung cancer, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma, and will significantly effect all Londoners, in particular the children, the elderly, the ill and vulnerable.
  • Air quality is already very poor in London. A number of initiatives, including ULEZ aim to improve this. An increase of flights over the city goes completely against the objective of these initiatives.
  • Heathrow wants to offset the pollution it will generate, by buying credits in other countries/industries. However, we want a reduction in the absolute level of noise and air pollution in London, not just financial/ carbon off-setting.
  • A 3rd runway will add 3Km2 to the current site, taking the total surface area to approximately 15km2, consuming 1,000 acres of greenbelt land, housing the world’s largest carpark for 50,000 vehicles. This will cause 750 houses to be demolished and the displacement of thousands of people because 5,500 homes will be deemed too noisy or polluted.

Interesting additional facts – did you know that Heathrow Airports Ltd is a 100% private and profit maximizing consortium?

  • As a private company Heathrow wants to increase its revenue and keep costs down, and one of its drivers for the Heathrow expansion is its strategy to double its cargo business from 1.7 million tonnes to 3.4 million tonnes per year.
  • Can it really be right to expand Heathrow and cause misery to the London population now and in the future, in order for Heathrow to grow its cargo business? It is madness that cargo traffic should be allocated to a city-based airport. There are numerous more suitable airports, which would also avoid the need to carry out years of costly work to the M25.


  • The Department for Transport (DfT)’s Updated Appraisal Report (2018) shows that the Net Present Value (NPV) of the 3rd runway ranges from £3.3bn to negative £2.2bn over a 60 year period.
  • Furthermore the DfT has recommended that Heathrow’s economic forecasts should be reduced to reflect the expectation that 75% of the 3rd runway’s capacity will be taken up by international transfer passengers who will not contribute to the UK economy, resulting in an NPV of negative £2.2-7.7bn.

The UK Taxpayers will have to fork out billions.

  • An estimated £18 billion tax payers’ money will be spent on the required expansion of road and rail networks, whilst Heathrow Ltd say they will contribute £1 billion. Like Crossrail these tax payer funded costs could skyrocket.
  • The Heathrow business case assumes a significant volume of regional flights. These flights have previously proved to be commercially unviable due to lack of demand, and the Government has therefore ended up subsidizing them with tax payers money. These journeys should be completed by train and taxpayers money should not be used for this.
  • The increased NHS bill to treat mental and physical health issues caused by noise and air pollution.

Any UK infrastructure initiative will generate jobs for the UK.

  • There is talk that UK-wide jobs will be generated in connection with Heathrow, primarily through the construction phase. This job creation is not sustainable. All regions should directly benefit from the tax payer funded infrastructure budget. NOT only Heathrow. It is also estimated that regional airports will miss out on 170,00 flights a year as a result of the Heathrow expansion.
  • Construction Phase. We are in the midst of a serious skills shortage in London. As a consequence, some 60% of Heathrow’s construction procurement will be through off-site hubs outside of London. The building of increased capacity at regional airports, rather than in the South-East, would be a better way to address this skills shortage and deliver permanent economic benefits to all of the UK.
  • Permanent Employment. Automation, self-service, AI and productivity improvements mean that the expansion is unlikely to create many permanent jobs. Revised figures from the Department of Transport indicate that many jobs created by expansion will have disappeared by 2040, and that the jobs remaining would be mainly low wage jobs in retail outlets in the terminals. As regards to the indirect expansion of jobs at new businesses in the vicinity of an airport, expansion of regional airports would be as effective or even more so.