London Heathrow T5. PHOTO: Wikimedia.

LONDON – On June 18th, 2019, Heathrow Airport released its expansion masterplan to the public.

It aims to have the third runway constructed by 2026, and its expansion completed by 2050.

Some key points from the plan include diverting rivers and roads, as well as constructing a tunnel for the M25 motorway, which will run under the third runway.

Despite releasing these plans, Heathrow Airport faces strong opposition from many environmentalists, local communities in areas surrounding the airport and a number of politicians.

Heathrow Airport has now opened a public consultation, which will run until the 13th September 2019.

Heathrow purposes that the expansion should be built in stages, firstly the new runway, which they aim to open by 2026.

This would then be followed by the infrastructure such as the terminals and additional hangers, which would be completed by 2050.

Heathrow Airport has also responded to environmentalists by proposing a plan for a new low-emission zone, where the airport would charge more to people driving more polluting vehicles within the zone.

Despite this, 761 homes will need to be demolished to make way for the expansion, including the whole village of Longford.

Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s executive director for expansion said that “We have been working with partners at the airport, in local communities and in government to ensure our plans show how we can grow sustainably and responsibly with environmental considerations at the heart of the expansion.”

Heathrow Airport has also said they plan to increase the number of no-fly hours, to six and a half hours.

Heathrow, British Airways Heritage BEA livery on an Airbus A319, to celebrate BA centenary celebrations, March 2019.

They have also said the plan to add 25% onto the marketing value of every house that will be demolished for the expansion.

Additionally, the Airport will also soon provide details on a compensation scheme for those affected.

This expansion will be the biggest airport expansion within the UK, so far during the 21st Century, as many of the London airports.

Both Heathrow and Gatwick are desperate for an additional runway, as they are struggling for capacity and the ability to expand, in turn losing out to their European counterparts, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.