Heathrow dodgy figures again

Latest 'underestimate' - £5.6bn and 4 years

Heathrow has again been accused of underestimating the cost of a third runway.

Heathrow cost and timescale underestimatedThe cost of building a third runway has been underestimated by nearly £6bn ($9bn) according to a report by top transport consultant EC Harris.

The report also says the airport has “zero” chance of opening a new runway on time and will take at least four years longer than claimed.

The report, commissioned by Gatwick, will be sent to the Airports Commission this week.

Cost underestimate

EC Harris stated that the required capital expenditure, estimated by Heathrow at around £15.6bn, has been underestimated as a result of potential delays to construction, the omission of Terminal 2 future expansion and the exclusion of third party funding that will be required to finance elements of the scheme.

The consultancy revised the figure up to £21.2bn and said it could go as high as £26.5bn.

“In our opinion, the practicality of implementing the programme and in turn the cost of doing so, is unrealistic and is subject to challenge,” EC Harris added. “There are compelling reasons to doubt whether a new third runway at Heathrow can be delivered at all.”

Timescale underestimate

The report stated that Heathrow’s timetable for delivery is over-ambitious due to the extent of highway and river diversion works that would be necessary during construction, as well as the extent of remediation required to treat contaminants from a large number of active and historic landfill sites that will be disturbed.

It also cited the re-provision of critical airport support facilities located off the airport. On this basis, built asset consultancy firm EC Harris claimed, there is “zero probability of achieving the stated 2025 runway opening date”.

Airports Commission

There are three schemes in the running: Heathrow has proposed a new runway to the northwest of its existing strips; Gatwick has its own plan; while an independent group, Heathrow Hub, is pushing an alternative scheme for Heathrow.

The commission, chaired by former Treasury mandarin Sir Howard Davies, is taking its final submissions ahead of a decision on where a new runway should be located to serve southeast England. Davies’s verdict is not expected until after the election.

Consultation closes on 03 February 2015

The open consultation on the runway options close on 03 February 2015 at 2345.

Anyone wishing to comment can do so by these email to airports.consultation@systra.com or use the response form on the Airports Commission website.

It is also possible, but to write to Freepost RTKX-USUC-CXAS, Airports Commission Consultation, PO Box 1492, Woking GU22 2QR

N.B. Image credit: heathrowairport.com

Related links

EC Harris

Airports Commission

Airports Commission open consultation – ways to respond