Heathrow airport revises expansion plans
Heathrow's bosses are laying out revised plans for expansion that they will submit to the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission.
Plans today from the chiefs of the west London airport include proposals that could lead to those dropping off passengers at Heathrow by car being subject to a congestion charge once transport improvements around the airport are finished.
Heathrow's revised submission also includes an improved compensation plan for those affected by the building of an extra, third, runway at Heathrow should such an expansion get the go-head by the commission.
Heathrow is allocating £550 million for noise insulation and property compensation and will launch a consultation with local people on proposals this summer.
Around 750 homes would need to be compulsorily purchased to provide space for a third runway.
The airport is proposing compensation of 25% above unblighted market value plus stamp duty costs and all legal fees in relation to purchasing a new home.
For a £250,000 property homeowners would receive £312,500 compensation, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and any legal fees.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: "We are committed to treating those most affected by a third runway fairly. Since the previous runway plan was rejected in 2010 we have listened to ideas for how we could improve our proposals.
"People have told us that we should provide more generous compensation and go further in insulating homes against noise.
"We recognise that the expansion of Heathrow deserves an exceptional compensation scheme. That's why we're going further than statutory schemes or Government guidance. People will receive fair compensation in the event that Heathrow expansion goes ahead."
A third runway at Heathrow is one of the options for south east England airport expansion that has been short-listed by the Airports Commission which is headed by former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies.
The plan put forward by Heathrow Airport Ltd is for a 3,500-metre (11,500ft) runway to the north west of the airport.
The commission is also considering a rival Heathrow scheme put forward by Heathrow Hub, a group of civil engineers which also includes former Concorde pilot Jon Lowe.
Theirs is a proposal to extend the existing northern runway to at least 6,000 metres (20,000ft).
Another, second, runway at Gatwick airport in West Sussex is the other short-listed option. In addition, the commission is having a further look at the option of a new airport in the Thames Estuary - the so-called "Boris Island" scheme favoured by London's Mayor Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile, bosses at Gatwick are submitting their own detailed expansion plans to the commission this week.
Today Gatwick said its £7.8 billion second runway project was far cheaper and far more beneficial than Heathrow's.
The chiefs of the West Sussex airport said today that expansion at Gatwick:
:: Will enable more people to fly to more destinations - 10 million more passengers each year will be able to travel with a second runway at Gatwick than with a third runway at Heathrow
:: Will generate more competition, keeping fares low, and delivering £40 billion more in economic benefits to the UK than expansion at Heathrow
:: A new runway at Gatwick can be delivered about five years earlier than a third runway at Heathrow at no additional cost or risk to the taxpayer
:: Expansion at Gatwick will deliver more than 120,000 jobs in London and south-east England, rebalancing the economy away from an overheated M4 corridor
:: Gatwick's location south of London means far fewer people will be affected by noise - a second runway at Gatwick would impact only 14,000 people compared with the 240,000 people impacted by noise from Heathrow today.