A consultation was launched on the "Preferred Master Plan" for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

The airport bosses plan to open a third runway by 2026, after years of debate.

Over the next 12 weeks, people will be able to share their views on the future development of the airport, the new runway and other issues, such as road access.

Options will also be addressed for managing the environmental impacts of the expansion, such as the Heathrow Very Low Emission Area, Heathrow Vehicle Access Charges, and the banning of scheduled overnight flights for 6.5 hours. .

The airport has already announced the implementation of a policy of noise isolation, compensation for damage to property and noise, a community fund to help local residents and measures to mitigate pollution of the environment. air and climate change.

Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport has suggested a noise isolation policy

Emma Gilthorpe, executive director for Heathrow's expansion, said: "Expansion must not happen at any price.

"That's why we work with partners at the airport, local communities and the government to ensure that our plans show how we can grow in a sustainable and responsible way, with environmental considerations at the heart of our business. of expansion. "

The expansion will be done in stages – the track should open in 2026 but the general plan will be completed around 2050.

The chronology did not impress Paul Beckford of the No 3rd Runway coalition, a group opposed to enlargement.

He said that it seemed like the airport wants to "spread the sadness of their plans for expansion over a period of 30 years, thus inflicting the scourge of construction and the increase of the air and noise pollution generated in London communities for decades. "

"Heathrow will argue that it is the largest consultation ever organized and this may well be true.

"However, this simply reflects the magnitude of the impact that their expansion plans will have on local communities."

The response to the consultation, which opens today at 8 am, will serve as the basis for the airport's request for a development consent order, which should be presented to the Secretary of Transportation. Next year.

This is the planning consent that the airport needs to complete the project.

Mr. Beckford said: "All communities in London and Home counties will know the impact of these proposals and we invite all those involved in the extension to state their objections clearly and clearly in their responses to consultation."

The consultation ends on September 13th.