TfL warns Heathrow expansion could bring London to a halt


Transport for London’s analysis of the transport implications of a third runway at Heathrow raise the prospect of the capital grinding to a halt.

Road and rail congestion would soon reach unprecedented levels if the government approves construction of a third runway at Heathrow, as recommended by the Airports Commission.

Transport for London (TfL) says that the Airports Commission has failed to assess the impact of full utilisation of the three runways at Heathrow, or of additional freight and growth in business activity around the airport.

The London Assembly Transport Committee met yesterday (10th November 2015) and heard that it would cost between £15bn and £20bn to improve the transport infrastructure needed to get all passengers to and from Heathrow Airport, if a third runway is built there.

Transport for London director of strategy and policy Richard De Cani told the meeting: “The simple word would be congestion – congestion on the road network, congestion on the rail network of a scale that we haven’t seen. The level of crowding you would have on those rail corridors into central London would be some of the worst that we currently see in London and that’s based on 2030 demand, the year of opening. So it’s a level of crowding and congestion that we believe would start to impact quite significantly on the whole performance of the transport network across west and southwest London.”

Committee chair Valerie Shawcross said: “Today we heard that there are clear discrepancies between the Airports Commission’s assessment of transport demand with TfL’s own analysis. For example, the Airports Commission has only planned for passenger demand up to 2030, and does not take into account transport needs with the airport at full capacity after expansion.

“Before the government makes its decision on airport expansion, there are big questions to be answered around what transport infrastructure is needed and who will pay for it. We can’t allow a bigger Heathrow to clog up London’s roads and public transport network.”


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BDC 299 December 2022