Heathrow ‘underestimates’ runway cost by £3-4bn

Dodgy figures means higher charges and fares

Heathrow has ‘underestimated’ the cost of a new runway by  £3-4billion says the Airports Commission in an assessment of proposals for additional runway capacity at Gatwick and Heathrow airports published today.

Heathrow 'underestimates' runway costHeathrow wants to build a 3rd runway and claims the cost would be £17 billion, meaning the Commission estimates an ‘underestimate’ of over 20%.

Gatwick has also ‘underestimated by about 20%, an extra £2 billion on top of the proposed £7.8 billion.

The consultation presents the commission’s analysis of the proposals shortlisted by the commission last year: 2 for Heathrow and 1 for Gatwick .

It invites public comment on the commission’s detailed consideration of each proposal. This includes analysis of the cost of each proposal, the effect on communities of noise, property loss and construction, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts.

Sir Howard Davies said:

“Since our Interim report last year we have undertaken a huge amount of work. We have carried out a thorough assessment, across a comprehensive range of subjects, looking at the benefits and impacts of each proposal.”

“We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria. It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity.”

“Responses to this consultation will be a valuable addition to our evidence base and will directly inform our recommendation to the government when we publish our final report in the summer of 2015.”

The information included in this consultation will enable respondents to give their view on the strengths and weaknesses of each short-listed option. It also invites comment on the commission’s review of the underlying evidence and analysis. These comments will then be taken into account and used to validate and challenge the commission’s assessments, ahead of the final report in the summer of 2015.

During the consultation the Airports Commission will hold open discussion sessions for local stakeholders in both the Heathrow and Gatwick areas. The consultation will close on 3 February 2015.

The report can be downloaded at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/increasing-the-uks-long-term-aviation-capacity

The politics

Politics will decide what does (or does not) happen.

Heathrow is virtually undeliverable due to the overwhelming local opposition, noise and air pollution, the cost, disruption and timescale.

Gatwick is widely seen as more deliverable, cheaper and faster to build.