England

Heathrow Airport extends third runway compensation offer

Heathrow compensation map Image copyright Heathrow Airports Ltd
Image caption About 3,750 homeowners would be offered compensation if a third runway was built

Heathrow has said it will extend its property compensation scheme if a third runway is built.

In May, the airport said it would pay 25% above market value for 750 homes that would need to be compulsorily purchased.

The offer has now been extended to 3,750 homes close to the new runway that would not need to be bought.

Homeowners in Poyle, Colnbrook, Brands Hill, Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and Cranford Cross will be affected.

Residents would have the option of selling or remaining in their homes when construction begins.

'Functioning community'

A spokesman said: "Where Heathrow purchases a property from a homeowner it will refurbish and sound insulate the property before reselling it on the open market.

"This will give those people who want to leave the area the option of doing so but ensure those who remain still live in a functioning community."

Avtar Cheema, a parish and borough councillor for Colnbrook with Poyle, said it was right that neighbouring communities should be compensated.

She said: "For the expansion, local people are against it, but they have not got a choice. How can people stay there?

"People will get more and more noise and they are suffering a lot already.

"There will be more jobs created and there will be a lot of people who will benefit from that but this is destroying the community."

The new offer follows a consultation that ended in October.

It remains subject to regulatory approval by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Image copyright PA

The Airports Commission says there is a need for one additional runway in the South East of England by 2030.

It has shortlisted three options:

  • A third runway at Heathrow
  • Lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow
  • A second runway at Gatwick

Its final report is due in 2015.

Why does Heathrow want a third runway?

Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, handling 70 million passengers in 2012. More than a third transfer to other flights, making it a major hub.

But Heathrow operates at 98% of its capacity within a current limit of 480,000 flights a year, much closer to capacity than other major London airports and rival hubs in Europe.

In normal conditions, a flight at Heathrow takes off or lands every 45 seconds but, during bad weather, aircraft fly more slowly over the ground.

This reduces the landing rate and causes delays - and because Heathrow's runways are full there are no spare slots into which to schedule the delayed flights. Lack of capacity therefore results in cancellations.

Read more about the options for air capacity expansion

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