Local conflict case study: 3rd runway at Heathrow

Heathrow airport began in 1943 when it was decided that the Heathrow site should be developed to become London’s post-war civilian airport.
The first passenger flight took off in 1946… and 2008 nearly 70 million passengers were travelling to and from Heathrow annually
Today Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world
In 2008 a fifth terminal was opened in Heathrow, known as T5
A huge amount of conflict and controversy has surrounded T5 and a public enquiry lasting from May 1995 to March 1999 was held before the decision to go ahead was finally made

http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7819699.stm- excellent website you can use – especially for attitudes to the new runway

Third runway

The fear of those who opposed T5 in the 1990s that it would be only the beginning of an airport expansion programme was proved right when the Labour government decided to back BAA’s proposal of a 3rd runway
The third runway, together with a new terminal would mean 700 properties, including a whole village, would have to be destroyed!
Proposed 3rd runway location
Attitudes to the 3rd runway proposal
Many different groups of people were involved in this conflict including:


• BAA (the ones who proposed the expansion)
• More revenue streams coming in to cope with rising costs. Increasing ability to compete with the biggest airport operators in the world
• The Labour party (in power at the time)
• Bring in more revenue for the country – business and tourism. Keep Heathrow as Europe’s main international hub
• Influential British industries e.g. The Confederation of British Industry, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic
• Bring in more business – easier to fly goods in/out and bring in products involved in manufacture


• The Conservative and Lib Dem parties
• Opposing it as a vote winner (Conservatives now back an amended plan)
• Local residents e.g. from the village of Sipson
• Loss of homes in the village. Increase noise and vibration disruption underneath the flightpath
• Environmental groups e.g. Greenpeace
• Increase of CO2 levels leading to more global warming, removal of green/open space
• Campaign groups e.g. HACAN and NoTRAG
• Backing up of the villagers
Basic summary of reasons supporting and opposing the expansion