Heathrow Airport has delivered its 'masterplan' for massive expansion, including a third runway by 2026.
The plans — now subject to a public consultation — also include new terminals, diverting rivers, and even rerouting the M25 to pass under the newly built runway. Vastly ambitious, the works will be carried out in four phases, with deadlines of 2026, 2030, 2035, and finally 2050. (Strictly speaking, the fourth plan is labelled '2050+' suggesting they might still be doing a spot of sweeping up afterwards.)
Among aspects of the plans, which the Airport will hope mollifies expansion opposers, are a 'Green Loop' shrouding the airport site, an 'ultra low emissions zone' for cars and a 6.5-hour ban on scheduled night flights.
Indeed, the Airport is keen to show it is listening to locals and the wider public. Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow's Executive Director for Expansion, said:
Expansion must not come at any cost. That is why 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 expansion. This consultation is an opportunity for people to have their say on our preferred masterplan, so it's really important that as many people as possible take part.
That's unlikely to sway groups, including Stop Heathrow Expansion, which are staunchly against the prospect of heightened environmental and noise pollution, from 'up to 700 more flights per day'. A spokesman from the group told the BBC that the plans are "laughable."
An aerodrome first opened on the site of the Airport in 1930. Since then, Heathrow has expanded to two runways, serving 80 million passengers a year.
The public consultation is open until 13 September 2019.
All images © Heathrow Airport