Fresh Government figures 'question case' for Heathrow runway expansion

Posted On: 
25th October 2017

The case to expand Heathrow airport has reportedly been thrown into doubt after fresh government figures showed Gatwick to be the better option on certain factors.

The Government backed expansion at Heathrow a year ago
PA Images

According to data from the Department for Transport a second runway at the Sussex airport would offer the bigger immediate boost to the economy.

A fresh public consultation was opened after new figures were collected about the impact of expansion at Heathrow – which was endorsed by the Government a year ago.

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New evidence shows the total benefits of Gatwick expansion could be up to £75.3bn while the total benefits of a third Heathrow runway could be up to £74.2bn, according to the Times.

The previous figures put out in the first consultation were £53.7bn for Gatwick and £61.1bn for Heathrow.

But the DfT told the paper the figures were misleading and did not account for the “wider strategic benefits” of Heathrow expansion – including freight capacity and regional connectivity.

The new report also says Heathrow poses a greater risk of failing to meet environmental targets over time. 

And it says the passenger benefits of reduced fares and fewer delays could be £69.4bn for Gatwick and £67.6bn for Heathrow. 

“Taken over the whole 60-year period, the LGW Second Runway scheme could lead to greater monetised net public value,” it reads.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The case for expanding Heathrow is as strong as ever and we want to hear your views on it. This is an important consultation.”

He added: “Updated analysis of this shows that the Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme can be delivered without the UK breaching its air quality obligations.”

The consultation will close in December and as it stands is not expected to delay the timetable for airport expansion any further.