London's airports

Heathrow third runway risks grinding London transport to a halt.

10 November 2015

Transport for London (TfL) has voiced major concerns around the Airports Commission’s Final Report and its assessment on the impact of a third runway at Heathrow on London’s road, rail and Tube networks.

According to TfL, the Airports Commission has not assessed the impact of a fully utilised third runway at Heathrow Airport or taken into account how recent employment forecasts will increase demand even further.

The London Assembly Transport Committee today heard that it would cost between £15 and £20 billion to improve the transport infrastructure needed to get all passengers to and from Heathrow Airport, if a third runway is built there.

Richard De Cani, Managing Director - Planning, Transport for London said at the meeting:

“The simple word would be congestion - congestion on the road network, congestion on the rail network of a scale that we havn’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 south west London."

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee 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.”

Notes to editors

  1. Valerie Shawcross CBE AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  2. Surface Transport Access to Heathrow Airport: Presentation to the Assembly Transport Committee, 10 November 2015 is attached below.
  3. Watch the full webcast here.
  4. London Assembly Transport Committee.
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.